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THE SHADOW OF 
THE SWORD. 



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CHATT3 AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY, W. 



THE SHAD 
THE SWOR 

JH fjUrmance 



By ROBERT BUCHANAN 

AITTHOR OF "GOD AND THB MAN," " THE MARTYRDOM OF MADHUNE," ETC. 




/ 

7 



A NEW EDITION 



Uxrttbtftt 

CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/shadowofswordromOObuch 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. 




PAGE 




Proem, ..... 


I 


I. 


Full Sunshine, .... 


s 


II. 


Rohan and Marcel le, . „ 


II 


III. 


Rohan's Cathedral, . . 


21 


IV. 


The Menhir, .... 


32 


V. 


Master Arfoll, .... 


41 


VI. 


" Rachel, mourning for her Children," 


52 


VII. 


Corporal Derval defends his Colours, . 


59 


VIII. 


The Corporal's Fireside, 


67 


IX. 


St. Napoleon, .... 


77 


X. 


At the Fountain, . 


81 


XI. 


The Red Angel, 


95 


XII. 


Corporal Derval harangues the Conscripts, 


100 


XIII. 


The Drawing of Lots. "One !" 


109 


XIV. 


A Day at Sea, . 


117 


XV. 


"The King of the Conscripts,'' 


125 


XVI. 


A Good Man's Blessing, . , , 


139 


XVII. 


In the Stormy Night, , 


151 


XVIII. 


The Prayers of Two Women, . 


158 


XIX. 


Down by the Shore, . 


167 


XX. 


"The Pool of the Blood of Christ," . 


173 



ci CONTENTS. 




CHAP. 


XXI. The Dream, . 


XXII. Mikel Grallon, . 




XXIII. Corporal Derval gallops his Hobby, 




XXIV. " A Terrible Death," . 




XXV. The June Festival — An Apparition, 




XXVI. Mikel Grallon makes a Discovery, 




XXVII. The Hue and Cry, 




XXVIII. On the Cliffs, . 




XXIX. The Faces in the Cave, . 




XXX. A Parley, 




XXXI. In the Cave, . 




XXXII. A Siege in Miniature, . 




XXXIII. Hunger and Cold, 




XXXIV. A Four-footed Christian, 




XXXV. Vigil, ; 




XXXVI. Victory, .... 




XXXVII. The Mirage of Leipsic, . 




XXXVIII. " Home they brought their Warrior dea 


d," . 


XXXIX. "A Chapel of Hate," . 




XL. Introduces a Scarecrow of Glory, 




XLI. Glimpses of a Dead World, , 




XLII. The Aqueduct, . 




XLIII. " The Night of the Dead," 




XLIV. Deluge, ..... 




XLV. "Mid Waters Wild," . 




XLVI. Marcelle, . 




XLVII. The Growing of the Cloud, , , 




XLVIII. " Vive le Roi !" . 




XLIX . The Corporal's Cup is Full, . , 




L. The Hero of the Hour, . 




LI. Breathing-space, 




LII. Resurgam, .... 




LI 1 1. " Ibi omnis effusis Labor !" 







CONTENTS. 


vii 


CHAP. 




PAGE 


LIV. 


The Last Chance, . » . 


• 435 


LV. 


The Beginning of the End, , . 


. 442 


LVI. 


Uncle Ewen gets his Furlough, . 


• 446 


LVII. 


Bonaparte, .... 


• 453 


I VIII. 


" Sic Semper Tyrannus," . , 


• 460 




Epilogue, . • * • 


. 466 



PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION. 



In issuing a new edition of " The Shadow of the Sword," 
my publishers have asked me to introduce it with a few 
lines of preface. This I do the more willingly, as it gives 
me an opportunity of thanking the Critics of the News- 
paper Press of England for the generous way in which 
they have received this and my subsequent attempts in 
fiction. 

" The Shadow of the Sword " is a polemic against 
War, against the institution which, above all others, is the 
disgrace and scourge of modern civilization. But what 
am I saying ? I write this preface in the near neighbour- 
hood of Shoeburyness, where our English artillerymen 
have been recently experimenting, at the expense of 
the public pocket and of the town windows, with the 
new 8 o-ton gun. I forget exactly how many pounds 
sterling every discharge of this cheerful invention costs 
the people of England, or how much they are mulcted 
for the experimental cannonade which takes place daily at 
Shoeburyness and other havens of unrest, made hideous 
for us by a quasi-military government. And I have be- 
fore me as I write the beautiful wall-almanack for 1883, 
owned by the pious proprietors of a newspaper called the 



x PREFACE. 

Christian Herald^ and containing, together with portraits 
of leading divines, a picture of the hero of Egypt, Sir 
Garnet Wolseley. Other signs in every land convince 
me of the perfect condition of our boasted Christian 
civilization. It is cheering also to reflect that even 
Liberals have been impelled to adopt the programme 
of imperialism, and stimulate the enthusiasm of Egyp- 
tian bondholders by a glorious victory over helpless 
fellow-creatures in the East. The Bible, the sword, 
and the ambulance waggon are triumphant, and the 
religion of Christ prevails. Only one step further, surely, 
would be needed, to reach the Millennium ; and that 
step would be taken if our rulers would only listen to the 
voice of Christian opinion, expressed in so many comfort- 
able circles, and cicatrize the old wounds of refractory 
Ireland — with powder and shot ! 

But this subject, after all, is too sad a one to be sar- 
castic upon. I am face to face with the horrible truth 
that War is still a reality, and will be a reality so long as 
it is tolerated, under any circumstances or under any 
name, by the preachers of Christianity — among which 
preachers I include, as by far the most powerful, the 
members of the fourth estate. In the nineteenth century, 
War should be simply impossible. That it is possible is 
a proof of the failure of the Christian religion, so far, to 
enfranchise the world. 

I have cast " The Shadow of the Sword " as a crumb 
upon the waters. It may do some good ; it cannot by 
any possibility do any harm. The idea has been de- 



PREFACE. x\ 

scribed as transcendental, like (to compare small things 
with great) the sublime ideas of the Founder of Christian- 
ity. It has been accepted, and praised without stint, by 
many, as an attack on Despotism in the person of the 
first Napoleon. I trust, however, that it is something 
more — an attack on War in the abstract, as the deadliest 
and most loathsome representation of the retrograde 
movement of modern political thought. Once more, 
" the time grows near the birth of Christ." The Holy 
Name will be murmured from a thousand pulpits, echoed 
by a million hearts ; but Christ still sleeps, despite His 
promise to arise, and sad-eyed Science is telling us that 
He will never arise at all. Blocking the mouth of the 
Sepulchre lies now, instead of the old stone, a monstrous 
implement — the Gatling Gun ! 

ROBERT BUCHANAN. 
Southend, Dec. 21, 18S2. 



PROEM. 




iINETEEN sad sleepless centuries 

Had shed upon the dead Christ's eyes 
Dark blood and dew, and o'er them still 
The waxen lids were sealed chill. 
Drearily through the dreary years 

The world had waited on in tears, 

With heart clay-cold and eyelids wet, 

But He had not arisen yet. 

Nay, Christ was cold ; and, colder still, 

The lovely Shapes He came to kill 

Slept by His side. Ah, sight of dread ! 

Dead Christ, and all the sweet gods dead I 

He had not risen, tho' all the world 

Was waiting ; tho', with thin lips curl'd, 

Pale Antichrist upon his prison 

Gazed yet denying, He had not risen ; 

Tho' every hope was slain save Him, 

Tho' all the eyes of Heaven were dim. 

Despite the promise and the pain, 

He slept — and had not risen again. 



Meantime, from France's funeral pyre, 
Rose, god-like, girt around with fire, 
Napoleon ! 



THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

— On eyes and lips 
Burnt the red hues of Love's eclipse ; 
Beneath his strong triumphal tread 
All days the human winepress bled ; 
And in the silence of the nights 
Pale Prophets stood upon the heights, 
And, gazing thro' the blood-red gloom 
Far eastward, to the dead Christ's tomb, 
Wail'd to the winds. Yet Christ still slept :— • 
And o'er His white Tomb slowly crept 
The fiery Shadow of a Sword ! 

Not Peace ; a Sword. 

And men adored 
Not Christ, nor Antichrist, but Cain ; 
And where the bright blood ran like rain 
He stood, and looking, men went wild ; — 
For lo ! on whomsoe'er he smiled 
Came an idolatry accurst, 
But chief, Cain's hunger and Cain's thirst 
For bloodshed and for tears ; and when 
He beckon'd, countless swarms of men 
Flew thick as locusts to destroy 
Hope's happy harvests, sown in joy ; 
Yea, verily; at each finger- wave 
They swarm 'd — and shared the crimson grave 
Beneath his Throne. 

Then, 'neath the sun 
One man of France — and he, indeed, 
Lowest and least of all man's seed- 
Shrank back, and stirr'd not ! — heard Cain's cry, 
But flew not ! — mark'd across the sky 
The Shadow of the Sword, but still 
Despair'd not ! — Nay, with steadfast will, 
He sought Christ's Tomb, and lying low, 



PROEM. • 

With cold limbs cushion'd on the snow, 
He waited ! — But when Cain's eye found 
His hiding-place on holy ground, 
And Cain's hand gript him by the hair, 
Seeking to drag him forth from there, 
He clutch'd the stones with all his strength, 
Struggled in silence — and at length, 
In the dire horror of his need, 
Shrieked out on Christ ! 

Did Christ rise/ 

Read 



CHAPTER I. 




FULL SUNSHINE. 

OHAN, Rohan ! Can you not hear me call? 
It is time to go. Come, come ! It frightens 
me to look down at you. Will you not 
come up now, Rohan ?" 

The voice that cries is lost in the ocean- 
sound that fills the blue void beneath ; it fades away far 
under, amid a confused murmur of wings, a busy chattering 
of innumerable little newborn mouths ; and while the speaker, 
drawing dizzily back, feels the ground rise up beneath her 
feet and the cliffs prepare to turn over like a great wheel, a 
human cry comes upward, clear yet faint, like a voice from 
the sea that washes on the weedy reefs of blood-red granite 
a thousand feet below. 

The sun is sinking far away across the waters, sinking with 
a last golden gleam amid the mysterious Hesperides of the 
silent air, and his blinding light comes slant across the 
glassy calm till it strikes on the scarred and storm-rent 
faces of these Breton crags, illuminating and vivifying every 
nook and cranny of the cliffs beneath, burning on the sum- 
mits and brightening their natural red to the vivid crimson 
of dripping blood, changing the coarse grass and yellow 
starwort into threads of emerald and glimmering stars, burn- 
ing in a golden mist around the yellow flowers of the over- 
hanging broom, and striking with fiercest ray on one naked 



6 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

rock of solid stone which juts out like a huge horn over the 
brink of the abyss, and around which a strong rope is noosed 
and firmly knotted. 

Close to this horn of rock, in the full glory of the sunset 
light, stands a young girl, calling aloud to one who swings 
unseen below. 

The sunlight flashes full into her face and blinds her, while 
the soft breath of the sea kisses the lids of her dazzled eyes. 

Judged by her sun-tanned skin, she might be the daughter 
of some gipsy tribe. But such dark features as hers are 
common among the Celtic women of the Breton coast ; and 
her large eyes are not gipsy-black, but ethereal grey — that 
mystic colour which can be soft as heaven with joy and love, 
but dark as death with jealousy and wrath ; and, indeed, to 
one who gazes long into such eyes as these, there are re- 
vealed strange depths of passion, and self-control, and pride. 
The girl is tall and shapely, somewhat slight of figure, small- 
handed, small-footed ; so that, were her cheek a little less 
rosy, her hands a little whiter, and her step a little less 
elastic, she might be a lady born. 

It is just eighteen years to-day since that red blustering 
morning when her father, running into port with the biggest 
haul of fish on record that season in the little fishing village, 
found that the Holy Virgin, after giving him four strong 
sons, had at last deposited in his marriage bed a maid-child, 
long prayed for, come at last ; and the maid's face is still 
beautiful with the unthinking innocence of childhood. Mark 
the pretty, almost petulant mouth, with the delicious under- 
lip- 

" Some bee hath stung it newly ! " 

Woman she is, yet still a child ; and surely the sun, that 
touches this moment nearly every maiden cheek in every 
village for a hundred miles along this stormy coast, shines 
upon no sweeter thing. 

Like Queen Bertha of old she bears in her hand a distaff, 
but not even a queen's dress, however fair, could suit her 



FULL SUNSHLNE. 7 

better than the severe yet picturesque garb of the Breton 
peasant girl — the modest white coif, the blue gown brightly 
bordered with red, the pretty apron enwrought with flowers 
in coloured thread, the neat bodice adorned with a rosary 
and medal of Our Lady ; and finally, the curious sabots, or 
wooden shoes. 

" Rohan, Rohan ! " 

A clear bird-like voice, but it is lost in the murmur of the 
blue void below. 

The girl puts down her distaff beside a pair of sabots and 
a broad felt hat which lie already on one of the blocks of 
stone ; then, placing herself flat upon her face close to the 
very edge of the cliff, and clasping with one hand the rope 
which is suspended from the horn of rock close to her, she 
peers downward. 

Half-way down the precipice a figure, conscious of her 
touch upon the rope, by which he is partially suspended, 
turns up to her a shining face, and smiles. 

She sees for a minute the form that hovers beneath her in 
mid-air, surrounded by a flying cloud of ocean birds — she 
marks the white beach far below her, and the red stains of 
the weedy pools above the tide, and the cream-white edge of 
the glassy moveless sea — she feels the sun shining, the rocks 
gleaming, for a little space ; — then her head goes round, and 
she closes her eyes with a little cry. A clear ringing laugh 
floats up to her and reassures her. She plucks up heart and 
gazes once again. 

What a depth ! She turns dizzy anew as she looks into 
it, but presently the brain-wave passes away, and her head 
grows calm. She sees all now distinct and clear, but her 
eyes rest on one picture only ! — not on the crimson reefs and 
granite rocks amidst which the placid ocean creeps, through 
fretwork of tangled dulse and huge crimson water-ferns ; not 
on the solitary Needle of Gurlan, an enormous monolith of 
chalk and stone, standing several furlongs out in the sea, 
with the waves washing eternally round its base and a cloud 
of sea-fowl hovering ever about its crest ; not on the lonely 



8 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

specks of rock, where the great black-backed gulls, dwarfed 
by distance to the size of white moths, sit gazing at the sun- 
set, weary of a long day's fishing ; not on the long line of 
green cormorants that are flapping drowsily home to roost 
across waters tinted purple and mother-of-pearl ; not on the 
seals that swim in the dim green coves far beneath ; not on 
the solitary red-sailed fishing boat that drifts along with the 
ebb a mile out to sea. All these she sees for a moment as 
in a magician's glass ; all these vanish, and leave one vision 
remaining — the agile and intrepid figure just under her, 
treacling the perpendicular crags like any goat, swinging 
almost out into mid-air as from time to time he bears his 
weight upon the rope, and moving lightly hither and thither, 
with feet and hands alike busy, the latter hunting for sea- 
birds' eggs. 

Thick as foam-flakes around his head float the little terns ; 
past him, swift as cannon-balls, the puffins whizz from their 
burrows (for the comic little sea-parrot bores the earth like a 
rabbit, before she lays her eggs in it like a bird), and sailing 
swiftly for a hundred yards, wheel, and come back, past the 
intruder's ears again, to their burrows once more ; round and 
round, in a slow circle above his head, a great cormorant — 
of the black, not the green species — sails silently and per- 
petually, uttering no sound ; and facing him, snowing the 
surface of the cliffs, sit the innumerable birds, with their 
millions of little eyes on his. The puffins on the green earthy 
spots, peering out with vari-coloured bills ; the guillemots 
in earth and rock alike, wherever they can find a spot to rest 
an egg ; the little dove-like terns, male and female, sitting 
like love-birds beak to beak, on the tiny little coignes of van- 
tage on the solid rocks below the climber's feet. Of the 
numberless birds which surround him on every side, few take 
the trouble to stir, though those few make a perfect snow- 
around him ; but the air is full of a twittering and a trem- 
bling, and a chattering and rustling, which would drive a less 
experienced cragsman crazy on the spot. As he slips nimbly 
among them, they grumble a little in their bird fashion ; that 



FULL SUNSHLNE. g 

is all. Occasionally an infuriated would-be mother, robbed 
of her egg, makes belief to fly at his face, but quails at the 
first movement of his fowler's staff; and now and then an 
angry puffin, as his hand slips into her hole, clings to his 
finger like a parrot, is drawn out a ruffled wrath of feathers, 
and is flung shrieking away into the air. 

The fowler's feet are naked — so his toes sometimes suffer 
from a random bite or peck, but his only answer is a merry 
laugh. He flits about as if completely unconscious of danger, 
or if conscious, as if the peril of the sport made it exhilara- 
ting tenfold. 

It is exciting to see him moving about in his joyous 
strength amid the dizzy void, with the sunset burning on his 
figure, the sea sparkling beneath his feet. His head is bare ; 
his hair, of perfect golden hue, floats to his shoulders, and is 
ever and anon blown into his face, but with a toss of his head 
he flings it behind him. The head is that of a lion ; the 
throat, the chin, leonine ; and the eyes, even when they 
sparkle as now, have the strange, far-away, visionary look of 
the king of animals. His figure, agile as it is, is herculean ; 
for is he not a Gwenfern, and when, since the memory of a 
man, did a Gwenfern ever stand less than six feet in his 
sabots ? Stripped of his raiment and turned to stone, he might 
stand for Heracles — so large of mould is he, so mighty of 
limb. But even in his present garb— the peasant dress of 
dark blue, shirt open at the throat, gaily-coloured sash, and 
trousers fastened at the knee with a knot of scarlet ribbon — 
he looks sufficiently herculean. 

He plies his trade. Secured to his waist hangs a net of 
dark earth-coloured eggs, and it is nearly full. 
. The sunset deepens, its flashes grow more blinding as they 
strike on the reddened cliff, but the fowler lifts up his eyes in 
the light, and sees the 'dark face of the maiden shining down 
upon him through the snow of birds. 

" Rohan, Rohan ! " she cries again. 

He waves his fowler's staff and smiles, preparing to 
ascend. 



io THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" I am coming, Marcelle ! " he calls. 

And through the flying snow he slowly comes, till it is no 
longer snow around his head, but snow around his feet. 
Partly aided by the rope, partly by the hook of his fowler's 
staff, he clings with hands and feet, creeps from ledge to 
ledge, crawling steadily upward. Sometimes the loose con- 
glomerate crumbles in his hands or beneath his feet, and he 
swings with his whole weight upon the rope ; then for a 
moment his colour goes, from excitement, not fear, and his 
breath comes quickly. No dizziness with him ! his calm blue 
eyes look upward and downward with equal unconcern, and 
he knows each footstep of his way. Slowly, almost labo- 
riously, he seems to move, yet his progress is far more rapid 
than it appears to the eye, and in a few minutes he has drawn 
himself up the overhanging summit of the crag, reached the 
top, gripped the horn of rock with hands and knees, and 
swung himself on to the greensward, close to the girl's side. 

All the prospect above the cliffs opens suddenly on his 
sight. The cloudy east is stained with deep crimson bars, 
against which the grassy hills, and fresh-ploughed fields, and 
the squares of trees whose foliage hides the crowning farms, 
stand out in distinct and beautiful lines. 

But all he sees for the moment is the one dark face, and 
the bright eyes that look lovingly into his. 

" Why will you be so daring, Rohan ? " she inquires in a 
soft Breton patois. " If the rope should break, if the knot 
should slip, if you should grow faint ! Gildas and Hoel both 
say you are foolish. St. Gurlan's Craig is not fit for a man 
to climb ! ; ' 



CHAPTER II. 



ROHAN AND MARCELLE. 




'O creep where foot of man has never crept 
before, to crawl on the great cliffs where even 
the goats and sheep are seldom seen, to know 
the secret places as they are known to the hawk 
and the raven and the black buzzard of the 
crags, this is the joy and glory of the man's life — this is the 
rapture that he shares with the winged, the swimming, and 
the creeping things. He swims like a fish, he crawls like a 
fly, and his joy would be complete if he could soar like, a 
bird ! His animal enjoyment, meantime, is perfect. Not 
the peregrine, wheeling in still circles round the topmost 
crags, moves with more natural splendour on its way. 

All the peasants and fishers of Kromlaix are cragsmen 
too, but none possess his cool sublimity of daring. Rohan 
Gwenfern will walk almost erect where no other fowler, how- 
ever experienced, would creep on hands and knees. In 
the course of his lifelong perils he has had ugly falls, which 
have only stimulated him to fresh exploits. 

He began, when a mere child, by herding sheep and goats 
among these very crags, and making the lonely caverns ring 
with his little goatherd's horn. By degrees he familiarized 
himself with every feature of the storm-rent terrible coast ; 
so that even when he grew up towards manhood, and joined 
his fellows in fishing expeditions far out at sea, he still 



12 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

retained his early passion for the crags and cliffs. While 
others were lounging- on the beach or at the door of the 
calozes, while these were drinking in the cabaret and those 
were idling among their nets, Rohan was walking in some 
vast cathedral not made with hands, or penetrating like a 
spectre, torch in hand, into the pitch-black cavern where the 
seal was suckling her young, or swimming naked out to the 
cormorant's roost on the base of the Needle of Gurlan. 

Even in wildest winter, when for days together the 
cormorants sat on the ledges of the cliffs and gazed despair- 
ingly at the sea, starving, afraid to stir a feather lest the 
mighty winds should dash them to pieces against the stones ; 
when the mountains of foam shook the rocks to their 
foundation ; when the earthquakes of ocean were busy, and 
crag after crag loosened, crumbled, and swept like an 
avalanche down to the sea, — even in the maddest storms of 
nature's maddest season, Rohan was abroad, — not the 
great herring-gull being more constant a mover along the 
black water-mark than he. 

Hence there had arisen in him, day by day and year by 
year, that terrible and stolid love for Water which wise 
critics and dwellers in towns believe to be the special and 
sole prerogative of the poets, particularly of Lord Byron, 
and which, when described as an attribute of a Breton 
peasant or a Connaught " boy," they refer to the abysses of 
sentimentality. Does a street-girl love the street, or a 
ploughman love the fields, or a sailor love the ship that 
sails him up and down the world ? Even so, but with an 
infinitely deeper passion, did Rohan love the sea. It is no 
exaggeration to say that even a few miles inland he would 
have been heartily miserable. And that he should love the 
sea as he did, not with a sentimental emotion, not with any 
idea of romancing or attitudinizing, but with a vital and natural 
love, part of the very beatings of his heart, was only just. 
He was its foster-child. 

Weird and thrilling superstitions are still afloat on this 
wild coast ; grotesque and awful legends, many of them full 



ROHAN AND MARCELLE. 13 

of deep faith and pathetic beauty, still pass from mouth to 
mouth ; but among them there is one which is something 
more than a mere legend, something more than a fireside 
dream. It tells of the sore straits and perils on the lonely 
seas during " the great fishing," and how, one summer night, 
a fisher, Raoul Gwenfern, took with him to sea his little 
golden-haired child. That very night, blowing the trumpets 
of wrath and death, Euroclydon arose. Lost, shrieking, 
terror-stricken, the fleet of boats drifted before the wind in 
the terrible mountainous sea ; and at last, when all hope had 
fled, the crew of this one lugger knelt down together in the 
darkness for the last time — knelt as they had often done side 
by side in the little chapel on the cliff, and invoked the 
succour of Our Blessed Lady of Safety ; — and no less than 
the others prayed the little child, shivering and holding his 
father's hand. And at last, amid all the darkness of the 
tempest and the roaring of the sea, there dawned a solemn 
shining, which for a moment stilled the palpitating waters 
around the vessel ; and that one innocent child on board, he 
and none other beside, saw with his mortal eyes, amid that 
miraculous light, and floating upon the waters — all spangled 
and silver as she stands, an image, up there in the little 
chapel of Notre Dame de la Garde — the face and form of 
the Mother of God ! 

Be that as it may, the storm presently abated, and the 
fleet was saved ; but when the light dawned, and the fishers 
on board the lugger came to their senses again they missed 
one man. The child cried "Father!" but no father 
answered ; he had been washed over in the darkness, and 
his footprints in the land of men were never seen more. It 
was then that the child, wailing for his beloved parent, told 
what he had seen upon the waters in that hour of prayer. 
Whether it was a real vision, or a child's dream, or a flash 
of memory illuminating the image he had often seen and 
thought so lovely, who can tell ? But that day he ran and 
flung himself into his mother's arms, an orphan child ; and 
from that day forth he had no father but the Sea. 



14 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

His mother, a poor widow now, dwelt in a stone cottage 
just outside the village, and under the shelter of a hollow in 
the crag. Her son, the only child of her old age, the child 
of her prayers and tears, obtained by the special intercession 
of the Virgin and her cousin St. Elizabeth, grew fairer and 
fairer as he approached manhood, and ever on his face there 
dwelt a brightness which the mother, in her secret heart, 
deemed due to that celestial vision. 

Now, tales of wonder travel, and in due course the legend 
travelled to the priest ; and the priest came and saw the 
child, and (being a little bit of a phrenologist) examined his 
head and his bumps, and saw the shining of his fair face with 
no ordinary pleasure. It is not every day that the good God 
performs a miracle, and this opportunity was too fine a one 
to be lost. So the curd, a remarkable man in his way, and 
one of considerable learning, then and there made the widow 
a proposition which caused her to weep for joy, and cry that 
St. Elizabeth was her friend indeed. It was this — that 
Rohan should be trained in holy knowledge, and in due 
season become a priest of God. Of course the offer was 
joyfully accepted, and Rohan was taken from the solitary 
crags, where he had been herding goats to eke out the 
miserable pittance that his mother earned, to live in the 
house of the priest. For a time the change was pleasing, 
and Rohan was taught to read and write, and to construe a 
little Latin, and to know a word or two of Greek ; he was, 
moreover, a willing child, and he would get up without 
a murmur on the darkest and coldest winter's morning to 
serve the aire's mass. He evinced, on the other hand, an 
altogether stupendous capacity for idleness and play. As he 
grew older his inclinations grew more irrepressible, and he 
would slip off in the fishing boats that were going out to sea, 
or run away for a long day's ramble among the crags, or 
spend the summer afternoon on the shore, alternately bath- 
ing naked and wading for shrimps and prawns. When most 
wanted he was often not to be found. One day he was carried 
home with his collar-bone broken, after having in vain 



ROHAN AND MARCELLE. 15 

attempted to take the nest of an indignant raven. Twice or 
thrice he was nearly drowned. 

This might have been tolerated, though not for long ; but 
presently it was discovered that Master Rohan had a way of 
asking questions which were highly puzzling to the priest. It 
was still Revolution time. Though the kingdom was an 
Empire, and though the terrible ideas of '93 had scarcely 
reached Kromlaix, the atmosphere was full of strange 
thoughts. The little acolyte began secretly to indulge in a 
course of secular reading ; the little eyes opened, the little 
tongue prattled ; and the good priest discovered, to his dis- 
gust, that the child was too clever. 

When the time came for the boy, in the natural course of 
things, to be removed from the village, Rohan revolted 
utterly. He had made up his mind, he said, and he would 
never become a priest ! 

That was a bitter blow for the mother, and for a space her 
heart was hard against the boy ; but the priest, to her aston- 
ishment, sided with the revolter. 

" Come, mother ! " he said, nodding his big head till his 
great hollow cheeks trembled with his earnestness. " After 
all, it is ill to force a lad's inclination. The life of a priest is 
a hard one, see you, at the best. The priesthood is well 
enough, but there are better ways of serving the good 
God." 

Rohan's heart rejoiced and the widow cried, " Better 
ways ! — ah, no, m'sieu le aire." 

" But yes," persisted his reverence. " God's will is best of 
all ; and better even a good ropemaker than a bad priest ! " 

It was settled at last, and the boy returned to his home. 
The truth is, the priest was glad to be rid of his bargain. He 
saw that Rohan was not the stuff that holy men are made of, 
and that, sooner or later, he would be inventing a heresy or 
adoring a woman. He did not relinquish his charge without 
a sigh, for that business of the miraculous vision, if consum- 
mated by a life of exemplary piety, would have been a fine 
feather in the Church's cap. He soon found a more fitting 



1 6 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

attendant, however, and his former annoyances and disap- 
pointments were forgotten. 

Meantime, Rohan returned to his old haunts with the 
rapture of a prisoned bird set free. He soon persuaded his 
mother that it was all arranged for the best ; for would he not, 
instead of being taken away as a priest must be, remain with 
her for ever, and supply his father's place, and be a comfort 
to her old age ? There were two sorts of lives that he de- 
tested with all his heart, and in either of these lives he would 
be lost to home and to her. He would never become a 
Priest, because he liked not the life, and because (hejiaively 
thought to himself) he could never marry his little cousin 
Marcelle ! He could never become a Soldier (God and all 
the saints be praised for that /), because he was a widow's 
only son. 

But it was the year 1 813, the "soote spring season" of that 
year, and the great Emperor, after having successfully 
allayed the fear of invasion which had filled all France ever 
since his disastrous return from Moscow, was preparing a 
grand coup by which all his enemies were utterly to be an- 
nihilated. There were strange murmurs afloat, but nothing 
definite was yet known. The air was full of that awful 
silence which precedes thunderstorm and earthquake. 

Down here at Kromlaix, however, down here in the loneliest 
and saddest corner of the Breton coast, the sun shone and 
the sea sparkled as if Moscow had never been, as if heca- 
tombs of French dead were not lying bleaching amid the 
Russian snows, as if martyred France had never in her secret 
heart shrieked out a curse upon the Avatar. The sounds of 
war had echoed far away, but Rohan had heeded them little. 
Happiness is uniformly selfish, and Rohan was happy. Life 
was sweet to him. It was a blessed thing to breathe, to be, 
to remain free ; to raise his face to the sun, to mark the cliffs 
and caves, to watch the passing sails, or the blue smoke curl- 
ing from the chimneys of the little fashing village ; to listen 
to the plump cure, " fatter than his cure ; " to hear the 
strange stories of bivouac and battle-field told by the old 



ROHAN AND MARCELLE. 17 

Bonapartist burnpowder, his uncle ; to hear Alain or Jannick 
play wild tunes on the biniou, or bagpipe ; to hunt the nests 
of gulls and seapies ; to go out on calm nights with his com- 
rades and net the shining shoals of herring : best of all, to 
walk with Marcelle along the sward or shore ; to kneel at her 
side, holding her hand, before the statue of Our Lady ; to 
look into her eyes, and,pleasanter still, to kiss her ripe young 
lips ! What life could be better, what life, all in all, could 
be sweeter than this ? 

And Marcelle ? 

His mother's sister's child, and only niece of the quaint 
old corporal with whom she lives, with her four great 
brothers, each strong as Anak. Since they were children 
together — and he first appalled her young heart by his reck- 
less daring — they have been accustomed to meet in all the 
innocence of Nature. While her great brothers care 
not for her society, but haunt the cabaret or go courting 
when ashore, Rohan seeks the maiden, and is more gentle 
than any brother, though still her kin. He loves her dark eyes 
and her hidden black hair, and her gentle ways, and her 
tender admiration of himself. She has been his playmate 
for years — now she is, what shall we say? his companion — 
soon, perhaps, to be known by a nearer name. But the 
marriage of such close kin is questionable in Brittany, and 
a special consent from the Bishop will be needed to bring it 
about ; and besides, after all, they have never exchanged one 
syllable of actual love. 

Doubtless they understand each other ; for youth is elec- 
trical, and passion has many tones far beyond words, and it 
is not in Nature for a man and a maiden, both beautiful, to 
look upon each other without joy. To their vague delicious 
feeling in each other's society, however, they have never 
given a name. They enjoy each other as they enjoy the 
fresh sweet air, and the shining sun, and the happy blue vault 
above, and the sparkling sea below. They drink each other's 
breathing, and are glad. So is the Earth glad, whenever 
lovers so unconscious stir and tremble happily in her arms. 



18 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Mark them again, as Rohan rises from the cliff, and stands 
by the girl's side, and listens to her laughing rebuke. How 
does he answer ? He takes her face between his two hands 
and kisses her on either cheek. 

She laughs and blushes slightly ; the blush would be 
deeper if he had kissed her on the lips. 

Then he turns to the block of granite where he has left 
his hat and sabots, and slowly begins to put them on. 

The sunset is fading now upon the ocean. 

The vision of El Dorado, which has been burning for an 
hour on the far sea-line, will soon be lost for ever. The 
golden city with its purple spires, the strange mountains of 
pink-tinged snow beyond, the dark dim cloud-peak softly 
crowned by one bright green opening star, are dissolving 
slowly, and a cold breath comes now from those ruined 
sunset shores. The blood-red reefs, the wet sands, the 
flashing pools of water along the shingle and beneath the 
crags, are burning with dimmer and dimmer colours ; the 
crows are winging past to some dark rookery inland ; the sea- 
fowl are settling down with many murmurs on the nests 
among the cliffs ; the night-owl is fluttering forth in the dark 
shadow of a crag ; and the fishing lugger yonder is drifting 
on a dark and glassy sea. 

Rohan looks down. 

The lugger glides along on the swift ebb tide, and he can 
plainly see the men upon her deck, bare-headed, with hands 
folded in prayer and faces upraised to the very crags on 
which he stands ; for not far beyond him, on the very 
summit of the cliffs, stands the little Chapel of Our Lady 
of Safety — the beloved beacon of the homeward-bound, 
the last glimpse of home the fisher sees as he sails away 
to the west, and the help, night and day, of all good 
mariners. 

All this picture Rohan has taken in at a glance, and now, 
grasping his fowler's hook in one hand, and coiling the rope 
around his arm, he moves along the summit of the cliff, fol- 
lowed by Marcelle. A well-worn path along the scanty 



ROHAN AND MARCELLE. 19 

sward leads to the door of the little Chapel, and this path 
they follow. 

They have not proceeded far when a large white goat, 
which has been busy somewhere among the cliffs, climbs up 
close by, and stands looking at them curiously. The inspec- 
tion is evidently satisfactory, for it approaches them slowly 
with some signs of recognition. 

" See !" cries the girl. " It is Jannedik." 

Jannedik answers by coming closer and rubbing its head 
against her dress. Then it turns to Rohan, and pushes its 
chin into his outstretched hand. 

" What are you doing so far from home, Jannedik ? " he 
asks, smiling, surprised. " You are a rover, and will some 
day break your neck. It is nearly bed-time, Jannedik I " 

Jannedik is a lady among goats, and she belongs to the 
mother of Rohan. It is her pleasure to wander among the 
cliffs like Rohan himself, and she knows the spots of most 
succulent herbage and the secretest corners of the caves. 
There is little speculation in her great brown eyes, but she 
comes to the whistle like a dog, and she will let the village 
children ride upon her back, and she is altogether more in- 
structed than most of her tribe, in which the cliffs abound. 

As Rohan and Marcelle wander on to the little Chapel, 
Jannedik follows, pausing now and then to browse upon the 
way ; but when they enter — which they do with a quiet 
reverence — Jannedik hesitates for a moment, stamps her 
foot upon the ground, And trots off homeward by herself. 

She has many points of a good Christian, but the Church 
has no attractions for her. 

The little Chapel stands open night and day. It was 
built by sailor hands, for sailor use, and with no small labour 
were the materials carried up hither from the village below. 
It is very tiny, and it nestles in the highest cliff like a white 
bird, moveless in all weathers. 

It is quite empty, and as Rohan and Marcelle approach 
the altar, the last light of sunlight strikes through the painted 
pane, illumining the altar-piece within the rails — a rudely- 



20 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

painted picture of shipwrecked sailors on a raft, raising eyes 
to the good Virgin, who appears among the clouds. Close to 
the altar stands the plaster figure of Our Lady, dressed in satin 
and spangles. Strewing the pedestal and hanging round her 
feet are wreaths of coloured beads, garlands of flowers cut in 
silk and satin, little rude pictures of the Virgin, medals in 
tin and brass, wooden rosaries, and strings of beads. 

Marcelle crosses herself and falls softly upon her knees. 

Rohan remains standing, hat in hand, gazing on the pic- 
ture of the Virgin on the altar-piece behind the rails. 

The little Chapel grows darker and darker, the rude tim- 
bers and stovm-stained walls are very dim, and the last sun- 
light fades on Marcelle's bent head and on the powerful 
lineaments of Rohan. 

Faith dwells here, and the touch of a passionate peace and 
love which are worth more. 

Peace be with them and with the world to-night — peace in 
their hearts, love in their breasts, peace and love in the 
hearts and breasts of all mankind ! 

But ah ! should to-morrow bring the Shadow of the 
Sword ! 



CHAPTER III. 



ROHAN'S CATHEDRAL. 




iOT far from the Chapel of Our Lady of Safety, 
but situated on the wild sea-shore under the 
crags, stands a Cathedral fairer than any 
wrought by man, with a roof of eternal azure, 
walls of purple, crimson, green, gold, and a 
floor of veritable "mosaic paven." Men name its chief en- 
trance the Gate of St. Gildas, but the lovely Cathedral itself 
has neither name nor worshippers. 

At low water this Gate is passable dry-shod, at half-tide it 
may be entered by wading waist-deep, at three-quarters or 
full flood it can only be entered by an intrepid swimmer and 
diver. 

Two gigantic walls of crimson granite jut out from the 
mighty cliff-wall and meet together far out on the edge of 
the sea, and where the sea touches them it has hollowed 
their extremity into a mighty arch, hung with dripping moss. 
Entering here at low water, one sees the vast walls towering 
on every side, carved by wind and water into fantasuc niches 
and many-coloured marble forms ; with no painted windows, 
it is true, but with the blue cloudless heaven for a roof far 
above, where the passing sea-gull hovers, small as a butter- 
fly, in full sunlight. A dim religious light falls downward, 
lighting up the solemn place, and showing shapes which 
superstition might fashion into statues and images of mitred 

C 



22 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

abbots and cowled monks and dusky figures of the Virgin ; 
and here and there upon the floor of weeds and shingle are 
strewn huge blocks like carven tombs, and in lonely mid- 
nights the seals sit on these and look at the moon like black 
ghosts of the dead. 

Superstition has seen this place, and has transformed its 
true history into a legend. 

Here indeed in immemorial time stood a great abbey 
reared by hands, and surrounded by a fertile plain ; but the 
monks of this abbey were wicked, bringing their wantons 
into the blessed place, and profaning the name of the good 
God. But the good God, full of His mercy, sent a Saint — 
Gildas indeed by name — to warn these wicked ones to desist 
from their evil ways and think of the wrath to come. It was 
a cold winter night when Gildas reached the gate, and his 
limbs were chill and he was hungry and athirst, and he 
knocked faintly with his frozen hand ; and at first, being 
busy at revel, they did not hear ; he knocked again and 
they heard, but when they saw his face, his poor raiment, 
and his bare feet, they bade him begone. Then did Gildas 
beseech them to receive and shelter him for Our Lady's sake, 
warning them also of their iniquities and of God's judgment ; 
but even as he spoke, they shut the gate in his face. Then 
St. Gildas raised his hands to Heaven and cursed them and 
that abbey, and called on the great sea to arise and destroy 
it and them. So the sea, though it was then some miles 
away arose and came ; and the wicked ones were destroyed, 
the likeness of the abbey was changed, and the great roof was 
washed away. Even unto this day the strange semblance 
remains as a token that these things were so. 

We said this Cathedral had no worshippers. It had two, 
at least. 

Within it sat, not many days after they had stood together 
in the little chapel, Rohan and Marcelle. It was morte mer, 
and not a ripple touched the light cathedral floor ; but it was 
damp and gleaming with the last tide, and the weed-hung 
granite tombs were glittering crimson in the light. 



ROHAN S CATHEDRAL. 23 

They sat far within, on a dry rock close under the main 
cliff, and were looking upward. At what? At the Altar. 

Far up above them stretched the awful precipices of stone, 
but close over their heads, covering the whole side of the 
cliff for a hundred square yards, was a thick curtain of moss, 
and over this moss, from secret places far above, poured 
little runlets of crystal water, spreading themselves on the 
soft moss-fringes and turning into innumerable drops of 
diamond dew : here scattering countless pearls over a bed 
of deepest emerald, there trickling into waterfalls of brightest 
silver filagree, and again gleaming like molten gold on soft 
trembling folds of the yellow lichen ; and over all this dewy 
mass of sparkling colours there ebbed and flowed, and flitted 
and changed, a perpetually liquid light, flashing alternately 
with all the colours of the prism. 

A hundred yards above, all was rent again into fantastic 
columns and architraves. Just over the Altar, where the 
dews of heaven were perpetually distilling, was a dark blot 
like the mouth of a Cave. 

"Is it not time to go?" said Marcelle, presently. "Sup- 
pose the sea were to come and find us here, how dreadful ! 
Hoel Grallon died like that ! " 

Rohan smiled — the self-sufficient smile of strength and 
superior wisdom. 

" Hoel Grallon was a great ox, and should have stayed 
praying by his own door. Look you, Marcelle ! There are 
always two ways out of my Cathedral ; when it is neap tide 
and not rough you can wait for the ebb up here by the Altar 
— it will not rise so far ; and when it is stormy and blows 
hard you can climb up yonder to the Trou " — and he pointed 
to the dark blot above his head — " or even to the very top 
of the cliff." 

Marcelle shrugged her shoulders. 

" Climb the cliff! — why, it is a wall, and every one has not 
the feet of a fly." 

" At least it is easy as £ar as the Trou. There are great 
ledges for the feet, and niches for the hands. j; 



24 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" If one were even there, what then ? It is like the mouth 
of Hell, and one could not enter." 

Marcelle crossed herself religiously. 

" It is rather like the little Chapel above, when one carries 
i light to look around. It is quite dry and pleasant ; one 
might live there and be glad." 

"It is, then, a cave ? " 

" Fit for a sea-woman to dwell in and bring up her little 
ones." 

Rohan laughed, but Marcelle crossed herself again. 

" Never name them, Rohan ! — ah, the terrible place ! " 

" It is not terrible, Marcelle ; I could sleep there in peace 
— it is so calm, so still. It would be like one's own bed at 
home but for the blue doves stirring upon the roosts, and 
the bats that slip in and out into the night." 

" The bats — horrible ! my flesh creeps ! " 

Marcelle, though a maid of courage, had the feminine 
horror of unclean and creeping things. Charlotte Corday 
slew the rat Marat, but she shivered at the sight of a 
mouse. 

" And as for the crag above," said Rohan, smiling at her, 
" I have seen Jannedik climb it often, and I should not fear 
to try it myself ; it is easier than St. Gurlan's Craig. Many 
poor sailors, when their ship was lost, have been saved like 
that, when the wind is off the sea ; and they have felt God's 
hand grip them and hold them tight against the precipice 
that they might not fall — God's hand or the wind, Marcelle, 
that is all one ? " 

After this there was silence for a time. Marcelle kept her 
great eyes fixed upon the glittering curtain of moss and dew, 
while Rohan dropped his eyes again to a book which he held 
upon his knee — an old, well-thumbed, coarsely printed 
volume, with leaves well sewn together with waxed thread. 

He read, or seemed to read ; yet all the time his joy Avas 
in the light presence by his side, and he was conscious of her 
happy breathing, of the warm touch of her dress against his 
knee. 



ROHAN'S CATHEDRAL. 25 

Presently he was disturbed in his enjoyment. Marcelle 
sprang to her feet. 

" If we stay longer," she cried, " I shall have to take off 
my sabots and stockings. For my part, Rohan, I shall run." 

And the girl passed rapidly towards the Gate and looked 
for Rohan to follow her. 

Rohan, however, did not stir. 

" There is time," he said, glancing through the Gate at the 
sea, which seemed already preparing to burst and pour in 
between the granite archway. " Come back, and do not be 
afraid. There is yet a half-hour, and as for the sabots and 
stockings, surely you remember how we used to wade to- 
gether in the blue water of old. Come, Marcelle, and look !" 

Marcelle complied. With one doubtful side-glance at the 
wall of water which seemed to rise up and glimmer close to 
the Gate, she stole slowly back, and seated herself by her 
cousin's side. His strength and beauty fascinated her, as it 
would have fascinated any maiden on that coast, and while 
she placed her soft brown hand on his knees, and looked up 
into his face, she felt within her the mysterious stirs of a 
yearning she could not understand. 

" Look, then," he said, pointing out through the Gate ; 
" does it not seem as if all the green waters of the sea were 
about to rush in and cover us, as they covered the great 
abbey long ago ? " 

Marcelle looked. 

To one unaccustomed to the place it seemed as if egress 
were already impossible ; for the great swell rose and fell 
close up against the archway, closing out all glimpses of 
blue air or sky. Out beyond the arch swam a great grey- 
headed seal looking with large wistful eyes into the Cathedral, 
and just then a flight of pigeons swooped through the Ga*e, 
scattered in swift flight as they passed overhead, and dis- 
appeared in the darkness of the great cave above the Altar. 

" Let us go ! " said Marcelle in a low voice. 

She was superstitious, and the allusion to the old legend 
made her feel uncomfortable in that solemn place. 



26 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Rest yet," answered Rohan, as he rose and closed his 
book and touched her arm. "In half an hour, not sooner, 
the Gate will be like the jaws of a great monster. Do you 
remember the story of the great Sea-beast and the Maiden 
chained to a rock, and the brave Youth with wings who 
rescued her and turned the beast to stone ? " 

Marcelle smiled and coloured slightly. 

" I remember," she answered. 

More than once had Rohan, who had a taste for mythology 
and fairy legend, told her the beautiful myth of Perseus and 
Andromeda ; and more than once had she pictured herself 
chained in that very place, and a fair-haired form — very like 
Rohan's — floating down to her on great outspread wings 
from the blue roof above her head ; and although in her 
dream she herself wore sabots and coarse stockings, and had 
her dark hair pinned in a coif, while Perseus wore sabots 
too, and the long hair and loose raiment of a Breton peasant, 
was it any the less delicious to think of? As to slaying a 
monster, Rohan was quite equal to that, she knew, if occa- 
sion came ; and taking his reckless daring and his wild 
cliff-flights into consideration, he really might have been 
born with wings. 

Just then the incoming tide began to be broken into foam 
below one arch of the gateway, and the rocks with jagged 
teeth to tear the sea, and the whole side of the Gate, blackly 
silhouetted against the green water, seemed like the head 
and jaws of some horrible monster, such as the Greek sailor 
saw whenever he sailed along his narrow seas ; such as the 
Breton fisher sees to this hour when he glides along the 
edges of his craggy coast. 

" There is the great Sea-beast," said Rohan, " crouching 
and waiting." 

" Yes ! See the huge red rock — it is like a mouth." 

" If you could stop here and watch, you would say so truly. 
In a little it will begin to lash and tear the water till the red 
mouth is white with foam and black with weeds, and the 
water below it is spat full of foam, and the air is filled with a 



ROHAN'S CATHEDRAL. 27 

roar like the bellowing of a beast. I have sat here and 
watched till I thought the old story was come true and the 
monster was there ; but that was in time of storm." 

" You watched it — up in the Tron ? " 

" It caught me one tide, and I had to sit shivering until 
sunset ; and then the storm went down, but the tide was 
high. The water washed close to the roof of the Gate, and 
when the wave rose there was not room for a fly to pass — it 
surged right up yonder against the walls. Well, I was 
hungry, and knew not what to do. It was pleasant to see 
the water turn crystal green all along the cavern floor, and to 
watch it washing over the rocks and stones where we sat to- 
day, and to see the seals swimming round and round and 
trying in vain to find a spot to rest on. But all that would 
not fill one's stomach. I waited, and then it grew dark, but 
the tide was still high. It was terrible then, for the stars 
were clustered up yonder, and the shapes of the old monks 
seemed coming down from the walls, and I felt afraid to 
stay. So I left my hat and sabots at the mouth of the cave, 
and slipped down from ledge to ledge, and dropped down 
into the water — it was dark as death ! " 

Marcelle uttered a little terrified " Ah ! " and clutched 
Rohan's arm. 

" At first I thought the fiends were loose, for I fell amid a 
flock of black cormorants, and they shrieked like mad things ; 
and one dived and seized me by the leg, but I shook him 
away. Then I struck out for the Gate, and as I drew near 
with swift strokes I saw the great waves rising momently and 
shutting out the light ; but when the waves fell there was a 
glimmer, and I could just see the top of the arch. So I came 
close, treading on the sea, till I could almost touch the arch 
with my hand, and then I watched my chance and dived ! 
Mon Dieu, it was a sharp minute ! Had I swum awry, or 
not dived deep enough, I should have been lifted up and 
crushed against the jagged stones of the arch ; but I held 
my breath and struck forward — eight, nine, ten strokes under 
water, when choking, I rose ! " 



28 THE SHADOW Of THE SWORD. 

"And then?" 

u I was floating on the great wave just outside the 
arch, with the sea before me and the stars above my head 
Then I thought all safe, but just then I saw a billow like a 
mountain coming in ; I drew in a deep breath, and just as 
the wave rose above me I dived again ; when I rose it had 
passed and was shrieking round the Gate of St. Gildas. So 
all I had to do then was to swim on for a hundred yards, and 
turn in and land upon the sands below the Ladder of St. 
Triffine." 

The girl looked for a moment admiringly on her herculean 
companion— then she smiled. 

" Let us go, now," she cried, " or the sea will come again, 
and this time one at least would drown." 

" I will come." 

" There, that last wave ran right down into the passage. 
We must wade, after all." 

"What then ? The water is warm." 

So Rohan still standing rapidly pulled off his sabots and 
stockings ; while Marcelle, sitting on a low rock, drew off 
hers — nervously, and with less sped. Then she rose, making 
a pretty grimace as her little white feet touched the cold 
shingle. Rohan took her hand, and they passed right under 
the portal, close up against which the tide had by this time 
crept. 

At every step it grew deeper, and soon the maiden had to 
resign his hand ; and gathering up her clothes above the 
knee, she moved nervously on. 

No blush tinged her cheek at thus revealing her pretty 
limbs ; she knew they were pretty, of course, and she felt no 
shame. True modesty does not consist in a prurient veiling 
of all that nature has made fair, and perhaps there is no more 
uncleanness in showing a shapely leg than in baring a well- 
formed arm. 

On one point, however, Marcelle's modesty was supreme. 
According to the custom of the country, she carefully curled 
up and coifed her locks, which, unlike those of most Breton 



ROHAN'S CATHEDRAL. 29 

maidens, were long enough to reach her shoulders. Her 
hair was sacred from seeing. Even Rohan in all their later 
rambles had never beheld her without her coif. 

They had reached the portal and were only knee-deep, but 
before them stretched for several yards a solid wall connected 
with the Gate, and round the end of this wall they must pass 
to reach the safe shingle beyond. 

Marcelle stood in despair. 

Before her stretched the great fields of the ocean, illimit- 
able to all seeming — still but terrible, with here and there a 
red sail glimmering and following the shining harvest. On 
every side the tide had risen, and around the outlying wall it 
was quite deep. 

" Ay me ! " cried the girl in a pretty despair ; " I told 
you so, Rohan." 

Rohan, standing like a solid stone in the water, merely 
smiled. 

" Have no fear," he replied, coming close to her. " Hold 
your apron ! " 

She obeyed, holding up her apron and petticoat together ; 
and then, after putting in her lap his and her own sabots and 
stockings, with the book he had been reading, he lifted her 
like a feather in his powerful arms. 

" You are heavier than you used to be," he said, laughing ; 
while Marcelle, gathering her apron up with one hand, clung 
tightly round his neck with the other. Slowly and surely, 
step by step, he waded with her seaward along the moss- 
hung wall ; he seemed in no hurry, perhaps because he had 
such pleasure in his burthen ; but at every step he went 
deeper, and when he reached the end of the wall the water 
had crept to his hips. 

" If you should stumble ! " cried Marcelle. 

" I shall not stumble," answered Rohan quietly. 

Marcelle was not so sure, and clung to him vigorously. 
She was not afraid, for there was no danger ; but she had 
the true feminine dread of a wetting. Place her in any cir- 
cumstance of real peril, call up the dormant courage within 



30 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

her, and she would face the very sea with defiance, with pride, 
dying like a heroine. Meantime, she was timid, disliking 
even a splash. 

• The wall was quickly rounded, and Rohan was wading with 
his burthen to the shore, so that he was soon only knee-deep 
again. His heart was palpitating madly, his eyes and cheeks 
were burning, tor the thrill of his delicious load filled him 
with strange ecstasy ; and he lingered in the water, unwill- 
ing to resign the treasure he held within his arms. 

" Rohan ! quick ! do not linger ! " 

It was then that he turned his face up to hers for the first 
time ; and lo ! he saw a sight which brought the bright blood 
to his own cheeks and made him tremble like a tree beneath 
his load. Porphyro, gazing on his mistress, 

" Half hidden like a mermaid in seaweed," 

and watching her naked beauty gleam like marble in the 
moonlight, felt no fairer revelation. 

Rohan, too, " felt faint." 

And why ? It was only this — in the excitement and 
struggle of the passage Marcelle's white coif had fallen back, 
and her black hair, loosened from its fastenings, had rained 
down in one dark shower, round cheeks and neck ; and 
cheeks and neck, when Rohan raised his eyes, were burning 
crimson with a delicious shame. 

Have we not said that the hair of a Breton maid is virgin, 
and is as hallowed as an Eastern woman's face, and is 
only to be seen by the eyes of him she loves ? 

Rohan's head swam round. 

As his face turned up, burning like her own, the sacred 
hair fell upon his eyes, and the scent of it — who knows not 
the divine perfume even scentless things give out when 
touched by Love ? — the scent of it was sweet in his nostrils, 
while the thrill of its touch passed into his very blood. And 
under his hands the live form trembled, while his eyes fed on 
the blushing face. 

" Rohan ! quick ! set me down ! " 



ROHAN'S CATHEDRAL. 31 

He stood now on dry land, but he still held her in his 
arms. The sweet hair floated to his lips, and he kissed it 
madly, while the fire grew brighter on her face. 

'* I love you, Marcelle ! " 




CHAPTER IV. 



THE MENHIR. 




• HERE is one supreme emotion in the life of 
Love which is never to be known again when 
once its holy flush has passed ; there is one 
divine sensation when the wave of life leaps its 
highest and breaks softly, never to rise quite so 
high again in sunlight or starlight ; there is one first touch 
of souls meeting, and that first touch is divinest, whatever 
else may follow. The minute, the sensation, the touch, had 
come to Rohan and Marcelle. Passion suddenly arose 
full-orbed and absolute. The veil was drawn between 
soul and soul, and they knew each other's tremor and 
desire. 

Many a day had the cousins wandered alone together for 
hours and hours. From childhood upwards they had been 
companions, and their kinship was so close that few coupled 
their names together as lovers, even in jest. Now, when 
Rohan was three or four and twenty and Marcelle was 
eighteen, they were attached friends as ever, and no sur- 
veillance was set upon their meetings. Walking about with 
Rohan had been only like walking with Hoel, or Gildas, or 
Alain, her tall brothers. 

Not that either was quite unconscious of the sweet sym- 
pathy which bound them together. Love feels before it 
speaks, thrills before it sees, wonders before it knows. They 



THE MENHIR. 33 

had been beautiful in each other's eyes for long, but neither 
quite knew why. 

So their secret had been kept, almost from themselves. 

But that disarrangement of the coif, that loosening of the 
virgin hair, divulged all. It broke the barrier between them, 
it bared each to each in all the nudity of passion. They had 
passed in an instant from the cold clear air to the very heart 
of Love's fire, and there they moved, and turned to golden 
shapes, and lived. 

Then, they passed out again, and through the flame, into 
the common day. 

All this time he held her in his arms, and would not let 
her go. Her hair trembled down upon his face in delicious 
rain. She could not speak, now, nor struggle. 

At last he spoke again. 

" I love you, Marcelle ! — and you ? " 

There was only a moment's pause, during which her eyes 
trembled on his with an excess of passionate light ; then, 
stirring not in his arms, she closed her eyes, and in answer 
to him, then and for ever, let her lips drop softly down on 
his! 

It was better than all words, sweeter than all looks ; it was 
the very divinest of divine replies, in that language of Love 
which is the same all over the wide earth. Their lips trembled 
together in one long kiss, and all the life-blood of each 
heart flowed through that warm channel into the other. 

Then Rohan set her down, and she stood upon her feet, 
dazzled, and trembling ; and lo ! as if that supreme kiss was 
not enough, he kissed her hands over and over, and caught 
her in his arms, and kissed her lips and cheeky again. 

By this time, however, she had recovered herself ; so she 
gently released herself from his embrace. 

" Cease, Rohan ! " she said softly. " They will see us 
from the cliffs." 

Released by Rohan, she picked up her stockings and 
sabots, which had fallen on the dry sand, together with those 
of Rohan, and the book ; all the contents of her lap. Then 



34 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

she sat down with her back to Rohan, and drew on her 
stockings, and could he have marked her face just then, he 
would have seen it illumined with a strange complacent joy. 
Then she softly up-bound her hair within its coif. When 
she rose and turned to him she was quite pale and cool — 
and the sweet hair was hid. 

In these consummate episodes a woman subdues herself to 
joy sooner than a man. Rohan had put on his stockings and 
sabots, but he was still trembling from head to foot. 

" Marcelle ! you love me ? ah, but you give me good news 
— it is almost too good to bear ! " 

He took both her hands in his, and drew her forward to 
him, but this time he kissed her brow. 

" Did you not know? " she said softly. 

" I cannot tell ; yes, I think so ; but now it seems so new. 
I was afraid because I was your cousin you might not love 
me like that. I have known you all these years, and yet it 
now seems most strange." 

" It is strange also to me." 

As she spoke she had drawn one hand away, and was 
walking on up the beach. 

" But you love me, Marcelle?" he cried again. 

" I have loved you always." 

" But not as to-day ? " 

" No, not as to-day ; " and she blushed again 

" And you will never change?" 

" It is the men that change, not we women.'' 

" But you will not ? " 

" I will not." 

" And you will marry me, Marcelle ?" 

" That is as the good God wills." 

" So ! " 

" And the good God's bishop." 

"We shall have his blessing too." 

" And my brothers also, and my Uncle the Corporal." 

" Theirs also." 

After that there was a brief silence. To be candid, Rohan 



THE MENHIR. 35 

was not quite sure of his uncle, who was a man of strange 
ideas, differing greatly from his own. The Corporal might 
see objections, and if he saw them he would try, being a man 
of strong measures, to enforce them. Still, the thought of him 
was only a passing cloud, and Rohan's face soon brightened. 

It was a clear bright day, and every nook and cranny of 
the great cliffs was distinct in the sunlight. The sea was 
like glass, and covered as far as the eye could see with a dim 
heat, like breath on a mirror. Far up above their heads two 
ravens were soaring in beautiful circles, and beyond these 
dark specks the skies were all harebell-blue and white 
feathery clouds. 

They soon sought and found a giddy staircase which, 
entering the very heart of the cliff, wound and wound until 
it reached the summit ; it was partly natural, partly hewn 
by human hands : here and there it was dangerous, for the 
loose stone steps had fallen away and left only a slippery 
slide. 

This was the Ladder of St. Triffme. 

It was a hard pull to the summit, and for a great part of 
the way Rohan's arm was round Marcelle's waist. Again 
and again they stopped for breath, and saw through airy 
loop-holes in the rock the sea breaking far below them with 
a cream-white edge on the ribbed sands, and the great 
boulders glistening in the sun, and the white gulls hovering 
on the water's brim. At last they reached the grassy plateau 
above the cliffs, and there they sat and rested, — for Marcelle 
was very tired. 

They could have lingered so for ever, since they were so 
happy. 

It was enough to breathe, to be near each other, to hold 
each other's hands. The veriest commonplace became divine 
on their lips, just as the scenes around, common to them, 
became divine in their eyes. Love is easily satisfied. A 
look, a tone, a perfume will content it for hours. As for 
speech, it needs none, since it knows the language of all the 
flowers and stars, and the secret tones of all the birds. 



36 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

When the lovers did talk, walking homeward along the 
greensward, their talk was practical enough. 

" I shall not tell my uncle yet," said Marcelle, " nor any of 
my brothers, not even Gildas. It wants thinking over, and 
then I will tell them all. But there is no hurry." 

" None," said Rohan. "Perhaps they may guess ? " 

" How should they if we are wise ? We are cousins, and 
we shall meet no oftener than before." 

" That is true." 

"And when one meets, one need not show one's heart to 
all the world." 

" That is true also. And my mother shall not know.'' 

"Why should she? She will know all in good time. We 
are doing no wrong, and a secret may be kept from one's 
people without sin." 

" Surely ! " 

" All the village would talk if they knew, and your mother 
perhaps most of all. A girl does not like her name carried 
.ibout like that, unless it is a certain thing." 

" Marcelle ! is it not certain ? " 

" Perhaps — yes, I think so — but nevertheless who can tell ?" 

" But you love me, Marcelle ! " 

" Ah yes, I love you, Rohan ! " 

" Then nothing but the good God can keep us asunder, 
and He is just !" 

So speaking, they had wandered along the green plateau 
until they came in sight of a Shape of stone, which, like 
some gigantic living form, dominated the surrounding 
prospect for many miles. It was a Menhir, so colossal 
that one speculated in vain over the means that had been 
adopted to raise it on its jagged end. 

It surveyed the sea-coast like some dark lighthouse, but 
no ray ever issued from its awful heart. On its summit was 
an iron cross, rendered white as snow by the sea-birds ; and 
down its sides, also, the same white snow dripped and hard- 
ened, making it hoary and awful as some bearded Druidic 
god of the primaeval forest. 



THE MENHIR. 3.7 

The cross was modern — a sign of capture set there by the 
new faith. But the Menhir remained unchanged, and gazed 
at the sea like some calm eternal thing. 

It had stood there for ages — how many no man might 
count ; but few doubted that it was first erected in the dim 
legendary times when dark forests of oak and pine covered 
this treeless upland ; when the sea, if indeed there were any 
sea, and not in its stead a rocky arm reaching far away into 
the kindred woods of Cornwall — when the sea was so remote 
that no sound of its breathing shuddered through the brazen 
forest-gloom ; and when the dark forms of the Druidic pro- 
cession flitted in its shadow and consecrated its stone with 
human blood. All had changed on sea and land ; countless 
races of men had winged past like crows into the red sunsets 
of dead Time, and had returned no more ; mountains of 
sand had crumbled, whirlwinds of leaves had scattered ; 
mighty forests had fallen, and had rotted, root and branch ; 
and the sea, inexorable and untiring, had crawled and 
crawled over and under, changing, defacing, destroying, — 
washing away the monuments of ages as easily as it 
obliterates a child's footprints in the sand. But the Menhir 
remained, waiting for that far-away hour when the sea would 
creep still closer, and drink it up, as Eternity drinks a drop 
of dew. Against all the elements, against wind, rain, snow, 
yea, even earthquake, it had stood firm. Only the sea 
might master it — it, and the cross on its brow. 

As the lovers approached, a black hawk, which was seated 
on the iron cross, flapped its wings and swooped away down 
over the crags into the abyss beneath. 

" I have heard Master Arfoll say," observed Rohan as 
they approached the Menhir, "that the great stone here 
looks like some giant of old turned into stone for shedding 
human blood. For my part, it reminds me of the wife o\ 
Lot." 

" Who was she ? " asked Marcelle. " The name is not of 
our parish." 

It must be confessed that Marcelle was utterly ignorant 



38 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

even of the literature of her own religion. Like most 
peasants of her class, she took her knowledge from the lips 
of the priest, and from the pictures of the Holy Virgin, the 
child Jesus, and the saints. In many Catholic districts the 
least known of all books is the Bible. 

Rohan did not smile ; his own knowledge of the Book was 
quite desultory. 

" She was flying away from a city of wicked people, and 
God told her not to look back ; but women are curious, 
above all, and she broke God's bidding, and for that He turned 
her into a stone like this, only it was made of salt. That is 
the story, Marcello ! " 

" She was a wicked woman, but the punishment was 
hard." 

" I think sometimes myself that this must once have been 
alive. Look, Marcelle ! Is it not like a monster with a white 
beard ? " 

Marcelle crossed herself rapidly. 

" The good God forbid," she said. 

" Have you not heard my mother tell of the great stones 
on the plain, and how they are petrified ghosts of men ; and 
how, on the night of Noel, they turn into life again, and 
bathe in the river and quench their thirst ? " 

" Ah, but that is foolish ! " 

Rohan smiled. 

" Is it foolish, too, that the stone faces on the church walls 
are the devils that tried to burst in when the place was built 
and the first mass was said, but that the saints of God stopped 
them and turned them into the faces you see ? I have heard 
m'sieu le cure say as much." 

" It may be true," observed Marcelle simply, " but these 
are things we cannot understand." 

" You believe ? Master Arfoll says that is foolish also." 

Marcelle was silent for a minute, then she remarked 
quietly — 

" Master Arfoll is a strange jrnan. Some say he does not 
believe in God." 



THE MENHIR. 39 

" Do not listen to them. He is good." 

" I myself have heard him say wicked things — Uncle said 
they were blasphemous. It was shameful ! He wished the 
Emperor might lose, that he might be killed ! " 

The girl's face flashed with keen anger, her voice trembled 
with its indignation. 

" Did he say that ? " asked Rohan in a low voice. 

" He did — I heard him — ah, God, the great good Emperor, 
that any one alive should speak of him like that ! If my 
uncle had heard him there would have been blood. It was 
dreadful ! It made my heart go cold." 

Rohan did not answer directly. He knew that he was on 
delicate ground. When he did speak, he kept his eyes fixed 
nervously upon the grass. 

" Marcelle, there are many others that think like Master 
Arfoll." 

Marcelle looked round quickly into the speaker's face. It 
was quite pale now. 

" Think what, Rohan ? " 

" That the Emperor has gone too far, that it would be 
better for France if he were dead." 

'•'Ah !" 

" More than that ; better that he had never been born." 

The girl's face grew full of mingled anger and anguish. It 
is terrible to hear blasphemy against the creed we believe in 
with all our heart and soul ; most terrible, when that creed 
has all the madness of idolatry. She trembled, and her 
hands were clenched convulsively. 

" And you too believe this ? " she cried, in a low shuddering 
whisper, almost shrinking away from his side. 

Rohan saw his danger, and prevaricated. 

" You are too quick, Marcelle — I did not say that Master 
Arfoll was right." 

" He is a devil ! " cried the girl, with a fierceness which 
showed the soldier-stock of which she came. " It is cowards 
and devils like him that have sometimes nearly broken the 
good Emperor's heart. They love neither France nor the 



40 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Emperor ; they are hateful ; God will punish them in 
the next world for their unbelief." 

" Perhaps they are punished already in this," returned 
Rohan, with a touch of sarcasm which passed quite un- 
heeded by the indignant girl. 

" The great good Emperor," she continued, unconscious of 
his interruption, "who loves all his people like his children, 
who is not proud, who has shaken my uncle by the hand 
and called him ' comrade,' who would die for France, who 
has made her name glorious over all the world, who is 
adored by all save his wicked enemies — God punish them 
soon ! He is next to God and the Virgin and God's Son ; 
he is a saint ; he is sublime. I pray for him first every 
night before I sleep — for him first, and then for my uncle 
afterwards. If I were a man, I would fight for him. My 
uncle gave him his poor leg — I would give him my heart, 
my soul ! " 

It came from her in a torrent, in a patois that anger ren- 
dered broader, yet that was still most musical. Her face 
shone with a religious ecstasy ; she clasped her hands as if 
in prayer. 

Rohan remained silent. 

Suddenly she turned to him, with more anger than love in 
her beautiful eyes, and cried — 

" Speak then, Rohan ! Are you against him ? Do you 
hate him in your heart ? " 

Rohan trembled, and cursed the moment when he had in- 
troduced the unlucky subject. 

"God forbid !" he answered. I hate no man. But why?" 

Her cheeks went white as death as she replied — 

" Because then / should hate you, as I hate all the enemies 
of God. as I hate all the enemies of the gre^t Emperor." 




CHAPTER V. 

MASTER ARFOLL. 

>HEY had approached close to the Menhir, and 
were standing in its very shadow, while Mar- 
celle spoke the last words. As she concluded, 
Rohan quietly put one hand on her arm, and 
pointed with the other. 
Not far from the pillar, and close to the edge of the crag, 
stood a figure which, looming darkly against the white sheet 
of sky, seemed of superhuman height — resembling for the 
moment one of those wild petrified spirits of whom Rohan had 
spoken, in the act of turning to life. Lean and skeletonian, 
with stooping shoulders, and snow-white hair falling down 
his back, thin shrunken limbs, arms drooping by his side, he 
stood moveless, like a very shape of stone. 

His dress consisted of the broad hat and loose jacket and 
pantaloons of the Breton peasant. His stockings were 
black ; instead of sabots he wore old-fashioned leather shoes 
fastened with thongs of hide, but long usage had nearly 
worn these shoes away. His extreme poverty was per- 
ceptible at a glance. His clothes, where they were not hope- 
lessly ragged, were full of careful patches* and darns, and 
even his stockings showed signs of constant mending. 

"See!" said Rohan in a whisper. " It is Master Arfoll 
himself." 

The girl drew back, still full of the indignation that had 



42 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

overmastered her, but Rohan took her arm and pulled her 
softly forward, with whispered words of love. She yielded, 
but her face still wore a fixed expression of superstitious dislike. 

The sound of footsteps startled the man, and he turned 
slowly round. 

If his form had appeared spectral at the first view, his face 
seemed more spectral still. It was long and wrinkled, with 
a powerful high-arched nose, and thin firm-set lips, quite 
bloodless, like the cheeks. The eyes were black and large, 
full of a weird, wistful expression and wild fitful light. An 
awful face, as of one risen from the dead. 

But when the large eyes fell on Rohan he smiled, and the 
smile was one of beatitude. His face shone. You would 
have said then, a beautiful face, as of one who had looked 
upon angels. 

Only for a moment ; then the smile faded, and the old 
worn pallor returned. 

" Rohan ! " he cried, in a clear musical voice. " And my 
pretty Marcelle ! " 

Rohan raised his hat as to a superior, while Marcelle, still 
preserving her resolved expression, blushed guiltily, and made 
no sign. 

There was that in this man which awed her as it awed all 
others. She might dislike him when he was absent, but in his 
presence she was conscious of a charm. Poor though he 
was in the world's goods, and unpopular as were many of 
his opinions, Master Arfoll possessed that daemoniac and 
magnetic power which Goethe perceived in Bonaparte, and 
avowed to be, whether fashioned for good or evil, the especial 
characteristic of mighty men. 

More will be spoken of Master Arfoll anon when the 
strange events on which this story is based come to be 
further rehearsed.- Meantime it is necessary to explain that 
he was an itinerant schoolmaster, teaching from farm to 
farm, from field to field. From his lips Rohan had drunk 
much secret knowledge, seated in the open meadows in the 
summer-time, or in some quiet cave by the white fringe of the 



MASTER ARFOLL. 43 

sea, or on some mossy stone on the summit of the high 
crags. He was a dreamer, and he had taught the boy to 
dream. 

Men said that his face was pale because of the awful things 
he had seen when the seals of the Apocalypse were opened 
in Paris. He never entered a church, yet he prayed in the 
open air ; he preferred perfect freedom of religious belief, yet 
he taught little children to read the Bible ; he was the friend 
of many a «/r/and many a soldier, but ceremonies and battles 
were alike his abomination. In brief, he was an outcast ; his 
bed was the earth, his roof heaven ; but the holiness of Nature 
was upon him, and he crept from place to place like a spirit, 
sanctifying and sanctified. 

It was some months since he had been in that neighbour- 
hood, and his appearance there at that moment was a surprise. 

" You are a great stranger, Master Arfoll," said Rohan, 
after they had taken each other by the hand. 

" I have been far away this time, as far as Brest," was the 
reply. " Ah, but my journey has been desolate : I have seen 
in every village Rachel, weeping for her children. There 
have been great changes, my son ; and there are more 
changes coming. Yet I return, as you see, and find the 
great Stone unchanged. Nothing abides but death : that 
only is eternal." 

As he spoke, he pointed to the Menhir. 

" Is there bad news, then, Master Arfoll ? " inquired Rohan 
eagerly. 

" How should there be good ? Ah, but you are children, 
and do not understand. Tell me, why should this cold love- 
less thing abide " — again he pointed to the Menhir — " when 
men and cities, and woods and hills and rivers, and the very 
gods on their thrones, and the great kings on theirs, perish 
away and leave no sign that they have been ? Thousands 
and thousands of years ago there was blood on that stone j 
men were sacrificed there, Rohan ; it is the same tale to-day 
—men are martyred still." 

He spoke in low sad tones, as if communing with himself. 



44 THE SHADOW OP THE SWORD. 

They perceived now that he held in his hand a book — the 
old Bible in the Breton tongue, from which he was wont to 
teach — and that his finger was inserted between the leaves 
as if he had just been reading. 

He now walked slowly on, with Rohan and Marcelle close 
to his side, until he reached the edge of the glassy plateau ; 
and lo ! lying just under the very edge of the sea was Krom- 
laix, with every house and boat mapped out clearly in the 
shining sun. 

The light fell on glistening gables, on walls washed blue 
and white, on roofs of wrecked timber or stone tiles, or of 
thatch weighted with lumps of granite to resist the violence 
of the wind. The houses crouched on the very edge of the sea. 
Scattered among them were wildhuts madeof old fishing boats, 
upturned and roofed with straw ; and though some of them 
were used for storing nets, sails, oars, and other boating 
implements and tackle, some served for byres, and many, 
occupied by the poorer families, sent up their curl of blue 
smoke through an iron funnel. Below the houses and huts, 
floating on the edge of the water — for it was high tide now — 
was the fishing fleet : a long line of boats, like cormorants 
with their black necks pointed seaward. 

A village crouching on the very fringe of the wild ocean. 
The sea was around and beneath as well as before it ; for 
it oozed below it into unseen shingly caves, and crawling 
inland underground for miles, finally bubbled into the green 
brackish pools that form the dreary tarns of Ker Leon. A 
lonely village, many miles from any other ; a village cradled 
in tempest, daily rocked by death, and ever gazing with sad 
eyes seaward, hungry for the passing sail. 

For miles and miles on either side stretches the great 
ocean wall, washed and worn into grandest forms of arch- 
way, dome, and spire, beaten against, storm shaken, under- 
mined ; gnawed, torn, rent, stricken by whirlwind and 
earthquake, yet still standing, with its menhirs and dolmens, 
firm and strong ; a mighty line of weed-hung scaurs, 
precipices, a.nd crags, of monoliths and <Jark aerial caves, 



MASTER ARFOLL. 45 

towering above the ever-restless sea : — so high, that to him 
who walks above on the grassy edges of the crags the sea- 
gull hovering midway is a speck, and the dark seaweed- 
gatherers on the sands beneath are dwarfed by distance 
small as crawling mice. For many a league stretches the 
great wall, and the wayfarer threading its dizzy paths hears 
underneath his feet the rush and roar of water, and the 
flapping wings of winds, and the screams of birds from foam- 
splashed gulfs. But here, suddenly, the wall, rent apart as 
if by earthquake, leaves one mighty gap ; and in the gap 
(which widening inward turns into a grassy vale fed by a 
dark river) the village crouches, winter and summer, change- 
less through the generations, with its eyes ever fixed on the 
changeless sea. 

A village ever doomed and ever saved. For the river, 
when it reaches the tarns of Ker Leon, plunges into the 
earth, and mingles with the increeping ocean, and so crawls 
onward unseen ; and the houses are verily rocked upon the 
waves which moan sullenly beneath them, and the fountains 
are brackish wherever they burst, and the village trembles 
and cries like a living thing when the vials of heaven are 
opened and the great sea threatens with some mighty tide. 

That day, however, while Master Arfoll gazed down, all 
was brightness and peace. In and about the boats children 
played, while the men lounged in twos and threes, or lay 
smoking on the sands, or lazily sat in the sunlight mending 
their nets. The smoke went up straight to heaven, and 
heaven was calm. All was quite still, but you could hear 
the village just breathing, like a creature at rest. 

Higher up the valley and partly on a rising slope stoou^ 
surrounded by its graveyard, the little red granite church, 
with its stone-tiled roof and ruddy tower crusted with dark 
green mosses and a hoary rime of salt blown from the sea. 
The sunlight struck along the gorge, so that even from the 
height they could see the rude group of the Calvary close 
by, the stone head of the Christ drooping in death, the little 
wells of holy water sparkling on the tombstones, and along 



46 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the wall of the charnel-house the dark dots where the skulls 
of the dead, each in its little pigeon-box, were nailed up as a 
ghastly memento mori. 

" Could the Stone yonder speak," said Master Arfoll, look- 
ing down, " what a tale it could tell ! I will tell you some- 
thing it could remember. The time when all around us 
stretched mighty forests, and when a deep river ran down 
yonder gorge, and when a great City stood on the river's 
hanks full of people who worshipped strange gods." 

" I have heard m'sz'eu le cure' speak of that," said Rohan. 
" It is very strange ; and they say that if you listen on the 
eve of Noel you can hear the bells ringing, and the dead 
people flocking in the streets, far under the ground. Old 
Mother Brieux, who died last Noel, heard it all, she said, 
before she died." 

Master Arfoll smiled sadly. 

" That is an old wife's tale : a superstition— the dead 
sleep." 

Marcelle felt herself bound to put in a word for her tradi 
tions. 

" You do not believe," she said. "Ah, Master Arfoll, you 
believe little ; but Mother Brieux was a good woman, and she 
would not lie." 

" All that is superstition, and superstition is an evil thing," 
returned Master Arfoll quietly. " In religion, in politics, in 
all the affairs of life, my child, superstition is a curse. It 
makes men fear the gentle dead, and phantoms, and dark- 
ness ; and it makes them bear wicked rulers and cruel deeds, 
because they see in them an evil fate. It is superstition 
which holds bad kings on their thrones, and covers the earth 
with blood, and breaks the hearts of all who love their kind. 
Superstition, look you, may turn an evil man into a god, and 
make all men worship him and die for him as if he were 
divine." 

" That is true," said Rohan, with a rather anxious glance 
at Marcelle. Then, as if wishing to change the subject, " It 
is certain, is it not, that the great City once stood there ? " 



MASTER ARFOLZ.. 47 

" We know that by many signs, " answered the school- 
master ; " one need not dig very deep to come upon its 
traces. Oh yes, the City was there, with its houses of 
marble and temples of gold, and its great baths and theatres, 
and its statues of the gods ; and a fair sight it must have 
been glittering in the sunlight as Kromlaix glitters now. 
Then the river was a river indeed, and white villas stood 
upon its banks, and there were flowers on every path and 
fruit on every tree. Well even then our Stone stood here, 
and saw it all. For the City was built like many another of 
our own with human blood, and its citizens were part of the 
butchers of the earth, and a sword was at each man's side, 
and blood was on each man's hand. God was against them, 
and their stone gods could not save them. They were a 
race of wolves, these old Romans ! they were the children of 
Cain ! So what did God do at last ? — He wiped them away 
like weeds from the face of the earth ! " 

The speaker's face was terrible ; he seemed delivering 
prophecy, not describing an event. 

" He lifted his finger, and the sea came up and devoured 
that City, and covered it over with rock and sand. Every 
man, woman, and child were buried in one grave, and there 
they sleep." 

" Till the Last Judgment ! " said Marcelle solemnly. 

"They are judged already," answered Master Arfoll. 
" Their doom was spoken, and they sleep ; it is only 'supersti- 
tion ' that would awake them in their graves." 

Marcelle seemed about to speak, but the large word 
" superstition " overpowered her. She had only a dim notion 
of its meaning, but it sounded conclusive. It was Master 
Arfoll's pet word, and it must be confessed that he used it 
in a confusing way to express all sorts of ideas and condi- 
tions. 

Rqhan said little or nothing. In truth, he was slightly 
astonished at the exceedingly solemn tone of Master Arfoll's 
discourse ; for he knew well the wanderer's gentler and 
merrier side, and he had seldom seen him look so sad and 



48 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

talk so cheerlessly as to-day. It was clear to his mind that 
something unusual had happened ; it was clear also, from 
certain significant looks, that Master Arfoll did not care to 
express himself fully in the presence of Marcelle. 

Meantime they had begun descending the slope that led 
to the village. Marcelle fell a few steps behind, but Rohan 
kept by the itinerant's side, quietly solicitous to discover the 
cause of his unusual melancholy. 

As they went Master Arfoll's eye fell upon Rohan's book, 
which he still carried in his hand. 

" What is that you read ? " he asked. 

Rohan delivered up the book. It was a rudely printed 
translation of Tacitus into French, with the original Latin on 
the opposite page. It bore a date of the Revolution, and 
had been printed in some dark den when Paris was trembling 
with the storm. 

Master Arfoll looked at the volume, then returned it to its 
owner. He himself had taught Rohan to see, however dimly, 
the spirit of such books as that ; but to-day he was bitter. 

" Of what do you read there ? " he exclaimed. " Of what 
but blood, and battles, and the groans of people under the 
weight of thrones ? Ah, God, it is too terrible ! Even here, 
in what men call God's own book " — and he held up the old 
Bible — "it is the same red story, the same mad cry of 
martyred men. Yes, God's book is bloody, like God's 
earth." 

Marcelle shuddered. Such language was veriest blas- 
phemy. 

" Master Arfoll " she began. 

His large wild eyes seemed fixed as in a trance ; he did 
not heed her. 

" For ever and ever, now as it was in the beginning, this 
wild beast's hunger to kill and kill, this madman's thirst for 
war and glory. Who knows but the great Stone yonder holds 
the spirit of some mighty murderer of old times, some Cain 
the Emperor, turned to rock, but with consciousness still left 
to see what glory is, to watch while kingdoms wither and 



MASTER ARFOLL. 49 

kings waste and dead people are shed down like leaves.' 
Well, that is superstition ; but had I my will, I would serve 
each tyrant like that. I would petrify him — I would set him 
as a sign ! He should see, he should see ! And then there 
would be no more war, for there would be no more Cains to 
make it and to drive the people mad ! " 

Marcelle only half understood him, but some of his words 
jarred upon her heart. She did not address Master Arfoll, 
but with angry flashing eyes she turned to Rohan. 

" It is only cowards that are afraid to fight. Uncle Ewen 
was a brave soldier and shed his blood for France : witness 
the beautiful medal of the great Emperor! The country is 
a great country, and it is the wars against the wicked that 
have made it great. It is the bad people that rise against 
the Emperor because he is good and so grand ; that makes 
war, and the Emperor is not to blame." 

Master Arfoll heard every word, and smiled sadly to him- 
self. He knew the maiden's worship for the Emperor ; how 
she had been brought up to think of him next to God : so 
without attacking her Idol, he said softly, with that benign 
smile which owed its chief charm to an inexpressible sad- 
ness — 

" That is what Uncle Ewen says ? Well, Uncle Ewen 
is a brave man. But do you, my little Marcelle, want to 
know what war is ? Look then ! " 

He pointed inland, and the girl followed the direction of 
his hand. 

Far away, towering solitary among the winding hedgerows 
of the vale, was another deserted Calvary, — so broken and 
so mutilated that only an eye familiar with it could have told 
what it was. One arm and a portion of the body was still 
intact, but the head and the other limbs had disappeared, and 
what remained was stained almost to blackness by rain and 
foul verdure. Beneath, wild underwood and great weeds 
climbed, — darnel and nettle made their home there, and 
there in its season the foxglove flowered. Yet, broken 
and ruined as the figure was, it dominated the inland pros- 



5o THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

pect, and lent to the wild landscape around it a wildei 
desolation. 

" That is war ! " said Master Arfoll solemnly. " Our roads 
are strewn with the stone heads of angels and the marble 
limbs of shapes like that. The gospel of love is lost ; the 
figure of love is effaced. The world is a battlefield, France 
is a charnel-house, and — well, you were right, my child ! — 
the Emperor is a god ! " 

Marcelle made no reply ; her heart was full of indignation, 
but she felt herself no match for her opponent. " That is 
treason," she thought to herself; " if the Emperor heard him 
talk like that he would be killed." Then she looked again 
sidelong into the worn wild face and the great sorrowful eyes, 
and her anger passed away in pity. "What they say is 
right," she thought, " it is not his fault — he has grown 
foolish with much sorrow ; his lonely life has made him 
almost mad. Poor Master Arfoll ! " 

By this time they had reached the outskirts of the village. 
Their way was a footpath winding hither and thither 
until it passed close under the walls of the old church. Here 
Marcelle, with a quiet squeeze of Rohan's hand and a quick 
glance at Master Arfoll, slipped away and disappeared. 

The itinerant walked on without noticing her absence ; 
his heart was too full, his brain too busy, and he held his eyes 
fixed upon the ground. 

Rohan disturbed him abruptly from his reverie. 

" Master Arfoll — tell me — speak — Marcelle is no longer 
here — what has happened ? Something dreadful, I fear ! " 

Master Arfoll looked up wearily. 

" Be not impatient to hear bad news — it will come soon 
enough, my son. There is a thunderstorm brewing, that is 
all." 

"A thunderstorm ? " 

" That : and earthquake, and desolation. The snows of 
Russia are not tomb enough ; we shall have the waters of 
the Rhine as well," he added, solemnly. " We are on the eve 
of s uew conscription." 



MASTER ARFOLL. 51 

Rohan trembled, for he knew what that meant. 

" And this time there are to be no exemptions except 
plrcs de f<X7)iilks ! Prepare yourself, Rohan ! This time 
even only sons will take their chance ! " 

Rohan's heart sank within him, his blood ran cold. A 
new and nameless horror took possession of him. Looking 
up, he saw in the distance the broken Calvary, like a sign of 
misery and desolation. 

He was about to speak, when the church gate swung open, 
and forth from the churchyard stepped moiisieur le ctire, 
with his breviary tucked under his arm, and a short pipe, 
black as ebony with tobacco stains, held between his lips. 



CHAPTER VI. 




" RACHEL, MOURNING FOR HER CHILDREN.' 

>E walked with a waddle, his shoulders thrown 
back, his chest thrust forward, and his portly 
stomach shaking at every step. His legs were 
'2> short and bandy, his arms long and powerful, 
his body long and loose and well covered with 
fat. There was nothing of the soft sybarite, however, about 
Father Rolland. He could run, leap, and wrestle with any 
man in Kromlaix. 

His face was coloured almost to a mahogany hue by constant 
exposure to sun and wind, and above his dark brown 
cheeks glittered two eyes as black as coals, as comic as the 
eyes of any ignis fatuus. His mouth, from which he ever 
and anon drew his pipe to emit a cloud of smoke, was firm 
yet merry. 

As he came out of the churchyard, he might have been 
taken for some comical bird unused to walking ; for he 
waddled like any crow, and the skirts of his threadbare black 
cassock were drawn up clumsily, and his little legs in their 
worn black stockings appeared peeping out behind. Mar- 
celle's uncle the Corporal, who exercised the old soldier's 
prerogative of inventing nick-names, and who had a keen 
eye for detecting odd resemblances, was in the habit of 
calling the birds who flocked to his window in winter- 
time " the little aires of God," and the robins in particular 
"the little cure's an rabat rouge" 



' RACHEL, MOURNING FOR HER CH/L£>REA r ." 53 

And truth to say, Father Rolland possessed in a large 
degree two strong characteristics of the robin redbreast — 
extreme patience and contentedness under difficulties, and 
an immense amount of good-natured pugnacity. 

His life was hard, and had been a perilous one. He rose 
with the lark, although (to be quite honest) he not unfre- 
quently went to bed with it ! He lived in a dismal hut, 
where an Englishman would scarcely keep his cow ; he was 
liable to be called out at any hour and in any weather to 
exercise his holy vocation ; his food was miserable ; and, to 
crown all his miseries, the " drink " of the country was vile ! 

Now, Father Rolland was a convivial man, a gourmet 
in good liquors — a man, indeed, who needed good liquor to 
loosen his tongue and complete his good-humour. He was 
by nature and instinct and habit a gossip. If the earth had 
been deserted, and himself left all alone with the Enemy of 
mankind, he would have gossiped and drunk with " Master 
Robert " for company. And in good sooth, he bore no 
malice in his heart to any creature — not even " Master 
Robert : " or Bonaparte. 

He had not been long ciiri in Kromlaix ; his predecessor, 
whom Rohan Gwenfern had worried so tremendously, having 
only been removed some few years. But he was a native of the 
district, and knew every menhir, every village roof, and 
every fireside for miles along the coast. He still spoke his 
native Brezonec to perfection, and in using the politer French 
he was guilty, especially when excited, of a strong patois — 
pronouncing (for example) jboeme as if it meant an apple 
\fiomme), coicteau, ktay, and chevauxjvak. In recording his 
conversation in an English translation it would be quite im- 
possible to follow this peculiarity, but the reader must 
imagine a thick shower of gutturals, very peculiar and verv 
difficult for any but Bretons to comprehend. 

Father Rolland had passed with a sound skin through all 
the storms of the Revolution and the Civil War. He was 1 
man of no " ideas," and he performed his priestly functions- 
such as marrying and giving in marriage, shriving the sick 

E 



54 THE StTADOTV OS? THE SWORD. . 

and dying — automatically enough, with a certain eye to his 
monetary dues. The great Figures of Contemporary History 
passed like contending Titans above his head ; he saw them 
from afar, and discussed them with unconcern. He was not 
the stuff of which martyrs are made. His sole business was 
with his flock, to whom he ever commended patience, good 
gossip, and contented drinking. 

To sum up, his intellectual grasp was small, but his 
scholastic attainments were fair. He was a good Latinist, 
an excellent grammarian, and he counted among his stock 
of quotations some half-dozen lines of Homer, among others 
the famous 

Aetfij Se ichayyi] yevti* apyvpioio /3ioio, 

and the still more famous and commonplace 

BJ; 8' cikccov TTapa 6lva 7roAv(/Aoi'cr/3oio BaXucrarjs, 

both of which he hurled at the heads of new acquaintance? 
in a thick patois with all the charm of novelty. 

Conceive, then, a jovial peasant taken from the soil and 
supplied with a little learning, and you have Father Rolland. 

As he sallied from the church gate he held out both his 
brown hands to Master Arfoll, and nodded kindly to Rohan. 

He had a greeting for everybody, had Father Rolland — 
Legitimist, Bonapartist, or Republican ; and Master Arfoll's 
love of the "rights of man" did not daunt him. The only 
recusant and hopeless offender was the parishioner who had 
not paid his dues, or who attempted in any way to diminish 
the Priest's perquisites ! Yet Father Rolland was not mean. 
He demanded his rights en principle, and then when they 
weie paid, whether in the shape of money or grain, he 
rattled them in his pocket or stored them in his yard, and 
incontinently chuckled over them. And then, perhaps the 
very next- day, he turned them into bread or wine or brandy, 
and shared them among the sick and hungry at his door. 

" Welcome, Master Arfoll ! " cried the cure. " You are a 



"RACHEL, M0URA T 1NG FOR HER CHILDREN:' 55 

stranger to Kromlaix ; 'tis months since we had a glass or a 
pipe together. Where have you been ? What have you 
been doing ? Welcome again ! " 

As he spoke his brown face beamed with pleasure. 

Master Arfoll returned the greeting gently. They walked 
on a few paces side by side. 

Presently the priest, linking his arm familiarly through 
that of Master Arfoll, while Rohan strode beside them like 
the giant that he was, began to demand his news. 

The itinerant shook his head sadly. 

" News, father," he exclaimed. " Ah, there is none — only, 
of course, the old bad news. Red blood on the battle-field, 
and black crape in all the lands around. I do not think that 
it can last long — the patience of the world is exhausted." 

" Humph !" muttered the curd, with his fat little finger in 
the bowl of his pipe. "The world seems topsy-turvy, honest 
brother — it is standing on its head.'' 

It seemed odd to the little aire, more odd than terrible. 
He had seen so much of terror and death that he had no 
particular horror for them, or for War. In his heart he 
loved, as in duty bound, the White better than the Blue, but 
he would never have instigated any man to die for the 
White. The respectable sort of thing, he believed, was to 
die, after "anointing," in one's bed at home. He never- 
theless believed battles, large and small, to be the expression 
of an irrepressible element in human nature, and he was not 
politician enough to blame any one in particular for en- 
couraging bloodshed. 

Master Arfoll continued, in a low voice — 

" I will tell you something, a small thing, but a sign of the 
end. I was stopping in a village far away east, and I 
entered the house of a woman who had lost both her sons 
in the last campaign, and but a week before buried her 
husband " 

"God rest his soul !" interrupted the aire, making the 
sign of the cross. 

" She was sitting on a form, staring into the fire, and her 



56 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

eyes seemed fixed and mad. I touched her on the shoulder, 
>nd she did not stir ; I spoke, and she did not hear. By 
slow degrees I roused her from her trance. She rose 
mechanically, my father, and opened her press and set before 
me food and drink. Then she sat down again before the 
fire, and I saw that her hair was white, though she was not 
old. When I had eaten and drunken — for I was very 
hungry — I spoke to her again, and this time she listened, 
and I told her I was a schoolmaster and was seeking for 
pupils. 'What can you teach, master?' she ask : 1 suddenly 
turning her eyes on mine. I answered softly, telling her I 
could teach her children to write and read. She laughed, 
father — ah, it was a terrible laugh. ' Go then and seek them,' 
she cried, pointing to the door, ' and when you have found 
them in their graves among the snow, come back and teach 
me to curse the hand that killed them and buried them 
there ! Teach me to curse the Emperor, teach me a curse 
that will drag him down ! Teach me how to kill him, and 
curse him down into hell-fire ! O my poor boys, my poor 
boys ! — Andre ! Jacques ! ' She shrieked, and cast herself 
down on her knees, and bit her hair between her teeth and 
spat it out. My heart was sick. I could not help her, and 
I crept away." 

The cure nodded his head thrice musingly. He was well 
used to such grief, and it moved him little. Nevertheless, 
in the true spirit of a good gossip, he condoled. 

" It is terrible — it is terrible indeed, Master Arfoll ! " 

" That is but one house out of thousands upon thousands. 
The curses go up to God. Shall they not be heard ?" 

" Softly, Master Arfoll," murmured the cure, with an anxious 
glance around, " some one may hear you." 

" I care not," cried the schoolmaster. " The Emperor 
may be a great tactician, a great engineer, a great soldier, 
but he is not a great man, for he has no heart. Mark me, 
my father, this is the beginning of the end. It is your 
Christ against the Emperor, and Christ will win." 

The little cure made nc reply ; such language was 



"RACHEL, MOURNING FOR HER CHILPRENr 57 

terribly serious, and the times were dangerous. He com- 
promised. 

"After all, if the Emperor could but give us peace ! " 

" Could ? And could he not ? " asked the itinerant suddenly 

" All the world is against our France," answered the cure 

" All humanity is against our Emperor," retorted Master 
Arfoll. 

" But the Emperor fights for France, Master Arfoll. 
Without him, the English, and the Russians, and the 
Germans would eat us up alive.'' He added, seeing Master 
Arfoll's half amazed, half indignant look, " Well, I am no 
politician ! " 

" You have eyes and you can see, my father. It is well to 
stay at Kromlaix by the sea, far away from the march of men, 
but were you to wander out on the broad highway, you would 
know. It is all a living sacrifice to feed the horrible vanity 
of one Man. How should he give us peace? His trade is 
war. He declares now that it is England that will not allow 
him to make peace ; he declares that it is for peace he fights. 
He lies, he lies ! " 

" Strong language, Master Arfoll ! " 

" When last he rode through the streets of Paris, the com- 
mon people clamoured to him for peace, peace at any cost. 
They might as well have prayed to the great Stone up yonder ; 
he passed on silent like a marble man, and did not hear 
them. Ah, God ! the people are weary, father ! they would 
rest ! " 

" That is true," exclaimed Rohan in a decided tone. 

The curd glanced at Rohan. 

" Master Arfoll has taught you to think with him in many 
things, and Master Arfoll is a good man, whether he is right 
or wrong. But beware, my son, of hot speeches here in 
Kromlaix. What Master Arfoll could say boldly, might cost 
you your liberty, and perhaps your life." 

He did not explain, what was a fact, that Master Arfoll 
was by a large majority of people considered simply insane, 
and in no way responsible for the strange things he said and 



58 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

did. Even Bonapartist officials heard his diatribes with a 
smile, and touched their foreheads significantly when he had 
finished. This is not the only instance on record of the one 
sane man in a district being mistaken for a Fool. 

" I will remember," answered Rohan, half shrugging his 
great shoulders. 

" The people are right, Father Rolland ! " resumed the 
schoolmaster. " The wealth and pride of France is being 
blown away in cannon smoke. The loss of mere money would 
be little, had we only strong hands to work for more. But 
where are those same strong hands '? The conscription has 
lopped them off with its bloody knife, and left us only the 
useless stumps." 

"Not quite all," answered the priest, smiling ; "for example, 
Rohan here has a pair of strong fists, and there are many 
bold lads left beside." 

Master Arfoll glanced strangely at Rohan, and then said 
in a voice more tremulous than before — 

" The conscription is famished still — the monster cries for 
more human flesh. Out there" — and he pointed with his 
lean hand inland, as at some scene afar off — " out there the 
land is a desert, ay, darker than the desert of La Bruyere, — 
ior the men who should till it are lying under the growing 
grain of strange countries, or in the deep sea, or beneath the 
snow. I tell you, lather, France is desolate ; she has nursed 
a serpent in her bosom : it has stung her children one by one, 
and it is now stinging her. Oh, how deaf you must be out 
here at Kromlaix by the sea, not to hear her crying — not to 
hear the new Rachel, wailing and weeping for her children ! " 

Master Arfoll had mounted his hobby, and there is no say- 
ing how far he would have ridden in his denunciation of 
Avatarism ; but suddenly monsieur le curd put his plump 
hand on his arm and whispered — 

"Hush!" 

Master Arfoll paused suddenly, not too soon, for as he 
ceased a clear sharp voice quickly demanded — 

" Who is this new Rachel, Master Arfoll ? " 




CHAPTER VII. 



CORPORAL DERVAL DEFENDS HIS COLOURS. 




HE speaker sat on a form in the open sunshine, 
at his own door, in the main street of the 
village. He wore horn spectacles, tied to his 
ears by pieces of string, and he held in his 
hand a paper which he had just been reading. 
His face was as red as a berry ; his hair, which was cropped 
close, reminded one of a stubble white with hoar-frost. 

His dress, half rustic half military, consisted of a loose open 
corporal's jacket from which the epaulets and adornments 
had long been worn away, loose trousers reaching to the knee, 
and beneath the knee, one light red stocking and an old 
slipper, for he had only one natural leg, the place of the 
other being supplied by a sturdy implement of wood. 

" Good morning, Uncle Ewen i " said the cure, anxious 
to divert attention from Master Arfoll's last remarks, 
while Rohan gave good-morrow too, and shook his uncle'? 
hand. 

For it was none other than Corporal Derval who sat 
there, the hero of many battles, the liege worshipper of 
Bonaparte, and uncle to both Rohan and Marcelle. 

The Corporal, who well knew and detested Master Arfoll's 
sentiments, was not to be baffled ; so after greeting the 
schoolmaster and shaking his hand, he repeated his ques- 
tion — 



60 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" But what about this new Rachel, Master Arfoll ? " he 
said, taking off his spectacles. 

The wondering scholar thus challenged pointblank, showed 
the courage of his opinions, and replied — 

" I spoke of these latter days of France, Corporal Derval ; 
another conscription, it appears, is talked of, and it seems to 
me the best blood of the country is drained away already. 
I compared our poor country to Rachel, who grieved for the 
children who had gone from her, and would not be com- 
forted. That was all." 

The veteran did not reply, but rose suddenly to his feet. 

" That was all ! " he repeated, in a voice like low thunder. 

As he spoke the forefinger and thumb of his left hand 
were plunged violently into his waistcoat pocket, while his 
right hand made a pass in the air and was plunged back 
into one of his coat tails ; then forefinger and thumb, grasp- 
ing a mighty pinch of snuff, were applied vigorously to his 
swelling nostrils, while he threw out his chest and stamped 
on the ground with his leg of wood ! 

In a moment one detected, despite the wooden leg, a 
curious and comical resemblance. Viewed cursorily side- 
ways, in his quaint old imperial coat with its worn facings, 
in his black hat cocked d /' Empereur, with his chest thrust 
forward and his legs wide apart, the wooden one shut out by 
the leg of flesh, he looked like a very bad and battered copy 
of the great Emperor ; like a Napoleon with a Wellington 
nose, and six feet high ; like (let us say) Mr. Gomersal at 
Astley's got up for the part, and really very much resembling 
the real thing, but for his nose, his height, and a certain shaki- 
ness in his legs. 

Seen very closely, his face was deeply bronzed and 
wrinkled and scarred, his eyes of a piercing blackness, his 
chin and neck closely shaven, with prominent muscles stand- 
ing out like whipcord, his nose vermilion-tipped and dew- 
dropped, his nostrils dilating and looking very black — the 
result of a habit of prodigal snuff-taking, which he shared 
with his great namesake "the Little Corporal." 



CORPORAL DERVAL DEFENDS HIS COLOURS. 61 

It must not be supposed that he was ignorant of his re- 
semblance to his Emperor and Master. He had been told ol 
it, and he believed and gloried in it ; it was the pride and 
delight of his existence. He assumed the imperial pose 
habitually — legs well apart, chest thrown out, hands clasped 
behind his back, head musingly dejected, all in the well- 
known fashion. And when Marcelle or some good gossip 
would whisper admiringly, " See ! would you not say it was 
the Emperor himself?" or " God save us, it might be the 
Little Corporal's ' ghost ! * his heart expanded exultingly, 
and his nose took a deeper red, and he strode on his own 
threshold like a colossus overstriding the world ; and he saw 
his neighbours and his foes beneath his feet, like so many 
kings and princes ; and he sniffed the air of battle from afar 
and, snuffing vigorously, laid the plan of some cabaret 
campaign ; and he went over his old glories like his Master, 
and sighed as he reflected that he could not hasten to further 
victories on his wooden leg ! 

Not that he was irreverent. He knew how far off 
he was from his Idol ; he knew that the resemblance was 
that of a pigmy to a giant. His brother's wife was a re- 
ligious woman, and the arid wind of French atheism had 
spared their hearth ; so that he believed in God if not in the 
Saints, for to him there seemed but one saint in the calendar 
— St. Napoleon ! 

With all his good qualities, Corporal Derval was rather an 
unpopular man in Kromlaix. The village lay far away from 
ordinary political contagion, and though it had once, like 
the rest of Brittany, caught a particle of the Legitimist fever, 
that time was wellnigh forgotten ; but the chief prayer of the 
honest folk was to let Napoleon fight it out, and leave them 
alone. Of course this could not be ; so they heartily cursed 
the conscription, and, in their hearts, Bonaparte. There 
being too many Bonapartisr enthusiasts in the place to make 
open grumbling safe, the inhabitants held their tongues, 
sighed secretly for the days of the old regime, and avoided 
in particular any passage of words with the old Corporal- 



62 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" That was all ! " repeated the soldier a second time. 
" Humph ! — and you, Master Arfoll, believe that ?" 

" I am sure of it, my Corporal." 

The Corporal's face grew red as the tip of his nose, his 
black eyes flashed terribly, he snapped his snuff-box fiercely, 
then opening it again, took from it a huge pinch, and drew 
it up into his dilated nostrils with a snort of angry scorn. 

The action gave him time to master the first rush of 
savage wrath, and he answered civilly, though his voice 
trembled with excitement — 

" Your reasons, Master Arfoll ? — come, your reasons ? " 

The schoolmaster smiled sadly. 

" You may behold them with your eyes, my Corporal," he 
said. "Women sow and reap our fields — women and old 
men over fifty — the flower of our youth is gathered up with 
the bloody sheaves of war, and in a little time France will 
fall, for there will scarce be one hand to lift a sword." 

Master Arfoll spoke of course hyperbolically ; but as if 
directly to falsify his assertion, there suddenly came forth, 
from the Corporal's own door, four gigantic youths, in all the 
bloom of health and strength, whom Rohan greeted with a 
smile and a nod. These were the Corporal's four nephews 
— Hoel, Gildas, Alain, and Jannick. 

The Corporal stood aghast, like one who hears blasphemy 
against his God ; an oath unmentionable to ears polite was 
hissing between his teeth, half heard, but incomprehensible. 

It was time for the little curd to interfere. 

He plucked the old soldier by the sleeve, and whispered — 

" Calm yourself, Corporal ! Remember it is only Master 
Arfoll ! " 

The words were as oil on water, and the Corporal's 
features relaxed somewhat. Slowly his stern frown grew 
into a grim contemptuous smile as he surveyed his anta- 
gonist. His look was supreme, Napoleonic. He surveyed the 
itinerant as Bonaparte would have surveyed one of those 
liliputians of the period — a King. 

Nevertheless heresy had been uttered, and for the benefit 



CORPORAL DERVAL DEFENDS HIS COLOURS. 63 

of those who had overheard the abomination, it must be con- 
futed. 

The Corporal assumed a military attitude. 

" Attention ! " he cried ; as if addressing a file of raw 
recruits. 

All started. The youths, who had been leaning sheepishly 
in various attitudes against the wall, stood up erect. 

" Attention !— Hoel ! " 

" Here ! " answered the youth of that name. 

" Gildas ! " 

" Here ! " 

" Alain ! " 

" Here ! " 

" Jannick ! " 

" Here ! " 

All stood in a row, like soldiers regarding their superior. 

" Listen, all of you, for it concerns you all. Attention, while 
I answer Master Arfoll." 

He turned to the schoolmaster. All his wrath had de- 
parted, and his voice was quite clear and calm. 

" Master Arfoll, I will not say you blaspheme, for you have 
had sorrows enough to turn any man's brain, however wise ; 
and you are a scholar, and you travel from village to village, 
and from farm to farm, all over the country. Like that a 
man learns much, but you have something yet to learn. 1 
have read my history as well as you. France has not fallen, 
she is not like that Rachel of whom you speak ! She is 
great .' she is sublime ! like the mother of the Maccabees ! " 

The comparison was a happy one. It was at once pat- 
riotic and religious. The little cure kindled, and looked at 
Master Arfoll as if to say, " There ! answer that if you can, 
good friend ! " The youths smiled at each other. They did not 
understand the allusion, but it was delivered like a musket- 
ball and seemed decisive. Rohan smiled too, but shrugged 
his shoulders with secret contempt. 

The Corporal looked for a rejoinder, but none came. 
Master Arfoll stood silent, a little pale, but with a pitying 



64 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

light on his sad and beautiful lace that spoke far more than 
words ; and his eyes rested on the Corporal with that sad 
affection good men feel for antagonists hopelessly deluded. 

The veteran threw out his chest still more, displaying 
more prominently the medal of the Legion of Honour : and 
again, this time with a proud victorious smile, gave the word 
of command. 

" Attention ! Hoel, Gildas, Alain, and Jannick ! " 

The youths became rigid ; but Jannick, who was the 
youthful humourist of the family, winked at Rohan, as much 
as to say, " Uncle is going ahead ! " 

" These are my boys ; they were my poor brother's, ana 
they are mine ; you see them ; they are mine, for my brother 
gave them into my keeping, and I have been a father to 
them, and to their sister Marcelle. I call them my sons, 
they are all I have in the world ; I love them, I. They were 
little children when I took them, and who has fed them 
since that hour ? I ! Yes, but whose hand has given me 
the bread I gave to them ? The Emperor, the great 
Emperor ! God guard him, and give him victory over his 
enemies ! " 

As he spoke, his voice now trembling with emotion, he 
raised his hat reverently and stood bareheaded, the bright 
light burning on his bronzed face and snow-white hair. 
Such faith was as touching as it was contagious. Even a 
chouan might have been tempted to cry like those four 
youths with their voices of thunder : " Vive V Empereur/ " 

The veteran replaced his hat upon his head, and held up 
his hand for silence. 

" The ' Little Corporal ' forgets none of his children — no, 
not one ! He has remembered these fatherless ones, he has 
fed them, and he has enabled them to become what you see ! 
They have been taught to pray for him nightly, and their 
prayers have mingled with the prayers of millions, and these 
prayers have brought victory to him over the wide earth." 

Master Arfoll, though gentle as a lamb, was human. An 
opportunity occurred of answering the Corporal's former 



CORPORAL DERVAL DEFENDS HIS COLOURS. 65 

furious fire, and he found it irresistible. While the veterar, 
paused for breath, the Schoolmaster said, in a low voice, not 
raising his eyes from the ground — 

" And what of their three brothers, Corporal Derval ? " 

The blow struck home, and for a moment the blood was 
driven from the soldier's cheek. Far away in foreign climes 
slept, with no stone to mark their graves, three other 
brothers of the same house, who had fallen at different times 
— two among the awful snows of Moscow. 

The veteran trembled, and his eyes glanced for a 
moment uneasily into the house, where he knew sat his 
brother's widow, the mother of those dead and these living. 
Then he answered sternly — 

" Their souls are with God, and their bodies are at rest, 
and they died gloriously as brave men should die. Is it 
better to fall like that, or to breathe the last breath in a 
coward's bed ? to die like a soldier, or to pass away like an 
old woman or a child ? They did their duty, Master Arfoll 
— may we all do ours as well ! " 

" Amen ! " said the little curd,. 

" And now," continued the Bonapartist, "if the 'little 
Corporal' away yonder should hold up his snuff-box" — he 
suited the action to the word — "and cry 'Corporal Ewen 
Derval, I have need of more of your boys,' they would smile 
— Hoel, Gildas, Alain, and Jannick — they would smile all 
four ! — and I, the old grenadier of Cismone, Areola, and 
Austerlitz, I, do you see, with my rheumatism &nd my 
wooden leg, would march to join him — rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat — 
quick march ! — at the head of my Maccabees ! " 

Strictly speaking, the enthusiasm of the Maccabees seemed 
greatly reduced by the sepulchral turn the conversation had 
taken. Hoel, Gildas, and Alain did not this time cry " Vive 
V Empereur" and the irreverent Jannick put his tongue in 
his cheek. 

Another voice, however, now chimed in enthusiastically- 

"And /would march with you, Uncle Ewen ! " 

Tt was Marcelle 



66 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Standing on the threshold of the cottage, with her eye, 
flashing and her cheek burning, she looked a Maccabee 
indeed. 

Uncle Ewen turned quickly, and surveyed her with pride. 

" Thou shouldst have been a man-child too ! " he ex- 
claimed, snuffing vigorously to conceal the emotion that 
filled his throat and dimmed his eyes ; " but there, go too ! " 
he added, with a grim laugh, " thou shalt be the vivandilre 
of the Maccabees and watch the bivouac fire. But, mon 
Diett, I forget, clwuan that I am. I am keeping your 
reverence in the street — will you not walk in, Father 
Rolland?" 

So saying, he stalked, clip-clop, to the door, and stood 
there bowing with a politeness uncommon among his class, 
but characteristic of the Breton peasant. The little curb 
followed, with a friendly nod to Master Arfoll, and the two 
disappeared into the cottage. 

Master Arfoll stood with Rohan in the middle of the 
road ; then, after hesitating a moment, he said hurriedly, 
holding out his hand — 

" Meet me to-night at thy mother's — I must go now ! " 

Without awaiting any reply, Master Arfoll retreated 
rapidly down the narrow street leading to the sea, leaving 
Rohan to the society of bis cousins — the gigantic 
" Maccabees." 




CHAPTER VIJ1. 

THE CORPORAL'S FIRESIDE. 

LL that day Marcelle was full of the stirring of 
a new sweet trouble ; she moved to and fro 
like one in a dream, to a music unheard by 
any ears save hers ; her colour went and came, 
her hand trembled as she cut the black bread 
and made the gaieties ; she was low-spoken and loving with 
her brothers, and she had strange impulses to kiss her 
mother and the Corporal. Her mother looked at her very 
curiously, for, having loved herself, she half suspected what 
it all meant. 

Silent love is sweet, but love first spoken is sweeter, for it 
brings with it calm assurance and love's first kiss. Up to 
that day Rohan had never spoken what was moving in the 
hearts of both ; up to that hour he had never done more 
than kiss her on both cheeks, in the ordinary Breton fashion. 
Now their lips had met, their silent plight was sealed. 

The meeting with Master Arfoll had somewhat depressed 
her, but the cloud soon passed away. She did not in her 
heart doubt for a moment that Rohan was a good Christian 
in both senses, believing . first in God and secondly in the 
great Emperor. 

Marcelle's religious education had been twofold. 
Her mother, a simple peasant woman, still retained in her 
heart all that passion for Church formulas, old superstitions, 



68 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

and sacerdotal legends, which the Revolution had endeav- 
oured, most unsuccessfully, to root out of France by force. 
She was a faithful attendant at every ceremony in the little 
chapel, she fell on her knees and prayed whenever she 
passed a Calvary, and she believed simply in all the miracles 
of all the saints. She had escaped the worship of her class 
for Kings, for the cures and vicaires of Kromlaix had never 
been enthusiastic Legitimists ; but she detested the Revolu- 
tion. 

She had been a fruitful woman. Her husband, the Cor- 
poral's elder brother, was a fisherman, who had perished in 
the great gale of 1796, and the Corporal, then a private 
soldier coming home on leave from Italy, had found her a 
widow with a large circle of helpless children — from the 
eldest, Andre", now fast asleep in Russian snow, down to the 
youngest born, Marcelle ; not to speak of Jannick, who was 
then stirring unborn beneath her widowed heart. 

Then and there, with his brother's children clinging round 
neck and knees, and his brother's widow weeping on his 
shoulder, Ewen Derval had sworn a great oath that he would 
never marry, but be a father to the fatherless, a brother to his 
brother's wife. And he had kept his word. 

Fighting through many a long campaign, serving his 
Master with the strength of idolatry, he had carefully avoided 
all temptation to waste his hard-earned rewards ; he had 
sometimes, indeed, been deemed a mean and a hard man in 
consequence ; but the little family had never wanted, and 
the brave man nourished them, as it were, with his very 
blood. 

At last, at Austerlitz, he fell and lost a leg ; his service was 
ended, and from that hour forth he was no use to his Master. 
His discharge pay was not illiberal, and he could still do his 
duty to his " children," as he ever called them, though he 
could no longer follow the great Shadow that was sweeping 
across the world 

Worn, weather beaten, wooden-legged, covered with medals, 
his heart full of gratitude and his pocket full of presents for 



THE CORPORAL'S FIRESIDE. fa 

the children, he returned to Kromlaix by the sea ; and then?, 
a hero, an oracle, and quite a family man despite his 
bachelorhood, he had resided peacefully ever after. 

Good Corporal Ewen had preserved, throughout all the 
dissipations and disbeliefs of a military life, a purity of 
character and a simple piety of soul which were not ordinary 
characteristics of Napoleon's veterans. He had a respect 
for women quite removed from the rude freedoms of an old 
campaigner ; and, as we have said, he believed in God. He 
was certainly not what people call a good Catholic, for he 
seldom or never went to confession, and he heard mass only 
once a year, at midnight, on Christmas Eve ; but he would 
doff his old hat whenever the angelus sounded in the distance, 
and mingle the great Emperor's name with that of the good 
God. 

So no sceptical jests from his mouth, no such coarse 
infidelities as distinguished the period, interfered with the 
quiet holy teaching with which the Widow Derval reared 
her children, who were taught to love and revere Christ 
and the Saints, and to honour monsiettr le cure, and to go 
through life reverently, as became the offspring of a godly 
woman. 

But in the long winter nights, when the wind swept in from 
the sea, and the snow lay deep without, the children would 
cluster round the old veteran, while the widow spun in the 
corner, and would listen open-mouthed to his stories of the 
great Man who of all living men was next to God. 

Strange to say, these stories sank deepest into the heart 
of the little girl, Marcelle. She was more passionate and 
reverent than her brothers. Taught from her infancy to be- 
lieve that the Emperor was divine, she gave him her heart's 
worship, with a faith that never could be shaken, with a love 
that could never die. She had heard of him as early as she 
had heard of God ; God and he were in her imagination hope- 
lessly interblended ; and with every prayer she uttered, and 
every dream she dreamed, the Emperor became holier and 
holier, in a fair religious light. 



70 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

On this one day of all her days, on this day of love to be 
marked for ever with a white stone, Marcelle almost forgot 
her Idol in the rapture of the new joy. Ever and anon, as 
she flitted about the cottage, she felt herself uplifted in 
Rohan's arms, and heard the murmuring of the summer sea, 
and felt her virgin hair unloosening and raining on the 
passionate upturned face. 

Fair indeed she seemed in her quaint Breton dress, moving 
to and fro in the fading sunset gleam. Her brightly coloured 
petticoat and snowy bodice shone against the dark walls in 
the dim, Rembrandtesque light of that quaint " interior.'' 

In its general aspects the room resembled that of its 
neighbours. It was the living room, salle-a-manger, and 
kitchen all in one. There were the customary forms, and 
the polished table with its soup-wells hollowed out of the 
wood ; the spoon-rack and bread-basket suspended by a 
pulley from the great polished black cross-beams, which 
were well stored with an odd mixture of eatables and 
wearables, candles and stockings, oil-cans, skins of lard, 
strings of onions, Sunday boots with great thongs of leather, 
some goatskin jackets, and a flitch of bacon. In a corner 
near the chimney stood one lit clos — or what the Scotch call 
" press-bed " — reaching to the ceiling like a large clothes- 
press, with sliding panels black as ebony and quaintly 
carved ; and in the opposite part of the room was another 
and smaller bed of the same description. A great black pot 
stood on the embers of the turf fire, and blazing pieces of 
turf were also piled over its lid. 

All was clean, fresh, and bright, with no coarser scent 
than that of fresh linen from the lits clos, or a whiff from the 
old veteran's pipe — a quaint old German pipe of china, which 
lay, well blackened with use, upon a shelf in the ingle. 

A staircase, ancient, quaintly carved, and black as ebony, 
led to the upper portion of the little cottage, the earthen 
floor of which was baked hard as bricks by the heat of an 
ever-burning fire. 

Thev had just finished their supper of gaieties and milk. 



THE CORPORAL'S FIRESIDE. Ji 

The Corporal had hobbled off to discuss campaigning with a 
neighbour ; the twins, Hoel and Gildas, were leaning back 
on their forms against the wall ; Alain was smoking at the 
door, and Jannick was crouching by the fire ; while the 
mother still sat by the table — brooding in housewife's 
fashion, with her large eyes fixed on the glow. 

The mother watched Marcelle quietly ; the youths 
rebuked her for her silence and her blunders, and Jannick, 
the humourist, her junior by two years, made her the 
subject of divers practical jokes. 

"What is the matter with Marcelle?" asked Hoel 
presently. " She has not spoken a word for hours, and she 
stares this way and that, like mad Jeanne who lives by the 
Fol-Fouet." 

Marcelle blushed, but said nothing. 

" Perhaps," jokingly suggested Gildas, the other twin, 
" she has seen the kourigaun." 

" God and the saints forbid ! " cried the widow, crossing 
herself rapidly. For the Breton kourigaun, like the Scotch 
banshee, is a spirit presaging evil and perhaps death to 
whomsoever it haunts in the desolate Breton ways. 

"Nonsense !" cried Marcelle. 

" The child is pale,'' said her mother anxiously. " She 
eats too little and she works too hard. She does not lounge 
about like you others, idle as grand seigneurs when you 
are not at the fishing. This is a full house, and two pair of 
women's hands have hard work to keep it in good order." 

There was a moment's silence, and Marcelle looked 
gratefully at her mother, to whom that one glance betrayed 
her secret. The mother dropped her eyes and looked at the 
fire ; the daughter began hurriedly to clear away the rem- 
nants from the table. 

" That is all very well," said Jannick, stretching out his 
long shapeless limbs and grinning with his dark, beardless 
baby face ; "that is all very well, but Marcelle does not do 
her housework at the Gate of St Gildas." 

Marcelle started, and almost dropped the dish she was 



72 THK SHADOW (J* THE SWORD. 

carrying ; pale now instead of red, she gazed with no amiable 
expression at the speaker, who only replied by an irreverent 
wink and a grimace. 

" What does the boy mean ? " inquired the widow. 

" He is a wicked imp, and should be beaten,' 1 said 
Marcelle in a low voice. 

The gigantic hobbledehoy burst into a horse-laugh. 

" Fetch thy heart's delight and let him try," he cried. 
" Mother, ask her once more — doth she wash her linen at 
the Gate of St. Gildas ? and if she answers nay, ask .why she 
lingered there so long to-day." 

The mother looked inquiringly at Marcelle, who was still 
quietly busy. 

" Wast thou there to-day, my child ? " 

There was no hesitation in the reply. 

" Yes, my mother." 

Marcelle's large truthful eyes gazed steadfastly now at her 
mother. 

" It is a long way to walk. What took thee so far, my 
child ? " 

" I went down the Ladder of St. Triffine on to the shore 
to look for dulse, and the tide was low, and I wanted to see 
the great Gate and the Troic a Gildas ; and, mother, the 
tide came in quick and nearly caught me, and I had sore 
work to come round through the great Gace back to the 
strand.'' 

The widow shook her head. 

" Thou art too fond of wandering into dangerous places ; 
thou wilt be lost one of these days, like thy father. A 
maid's work is in the house, and not out yonder or on 
the sea. I have lived in Kromlaix, maid and wife, for nigh 
fifty years, and I have never seen the Gate yet save once, 
from thy father's boat, when he took me out with him in 
the wicked days to hear the blessed mass at sea." 

By this time the housewife had risen and settled down 
again by her wheel, where she began to spin busily. She 
was one of those thrifty energetic women to whom idleness 



THE CORPORAL'S FIRESIDE. 73 

is death, and who fill the houses they inhabit with a busy 
hum of work, sometimes quite beelike in its misdirected 
waste of energy. 

" I will tell you," said Jannick, rising and stretching his 
limbs, "of something we saw this day when coming home 
from the fishing. We were drifting with the flood close by 
the great Gate, as near as a boat may sail, when Mikel 
Grallon, who has eyes like a hawk, cried out, ' Look,' and 
we looked, all, in at the Gate. We were too far to make out 
faces, but what we saw was this : a man like a fisherman 
wading up to his waist, and carrying a maiden in his long 
arms. The tide was high, and he carried her round from the 
Gate, and sat her down upon the shore. Turn thy face this 
way, Marcelle ! Then the man kissed the maid, and the 
maid the man, and after that we slipped round the point and 
saw no more." 

The twins laughed, and all looked at Marcelle. She was 
quite calm now, and shrugged her pretty shoulders with a 
charming air of indifference. Jannick, irritated by her 
composure, turned to his mother. 

" Mother ! ask her if she went to the Gate of St. Gildas 
alone / " 

Before the question could be put Marcelle herself an- 
swered, looking defiantly at the imp who was torturing her. 

fC Nay, both going and coming I had company, as you 
have told. Listen, mother ! Jannick is a goose, and sees 
wonders where older people would see nothing strange. I 
found a comrade on the beach, and he guided me through 
the Gate, and after that, when the tide rose, he carried me 
through the Gate again, and then — what the stupid Jannick 
says is true ! — I kissed him on both cheeks for thanks ! It 
was only Cousin Rohan, and but for his help, mother, I 
might have been drowned this day." 

There was another general laugh, this time at Jannick's 
expense. Marcelle's rambles with Rohan were well known, 
and Rohan's connection with the family was so close that 
they elicited little 



74 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Only the mother looked grave. 

" That is not true," cried Jannick, angry at having the 
laugh against him. " When I came up the street yonder, 
Rohan was with the priest and Master Arfoll, and when I 
entered the house thou hadst not come home. Besides, he 
who carried thee— for thee it was, I swear — was not taller 
than I, and he embraced thee too close and too often to be 
Rohan Gwenfern or any of thy kin." 
The widow broke in sharply — 

" Whoever it was — and the Holy Virgin forbid that 
Marcelle or any child of mine should speak a lie— whoever 
it was, Rohan or another, Marcelle should not have wan- 
dered there. It is no place for maids, nor for any but mad 
creatures who bear their lives in their hands, like Rohan 
Gwenfern. Besides, all the country knows the spot was 
cursed by the blessed St. Gildas, and turned into a place of 
ill. All men know that wicked spirits walk there by night, 
and the souls of monks who denied the holy Cross : 
altogether, 'tis an evil spot, and even Rohan himself does 
wrong to venture there." 

Here for a space the conversation ceased ; but that night, 
when all the house was still, Marcelle fell secretly on her 
mother's breast and told her all. She had intended to be 
silent, but she could not bear the loving questioning- 
eyes that followed her, with fond maternal solicitude and 
anxiety, all about the house. 

The mother was not altogether unprepared for the recep- 
tion of the truth. It certainly gave her little pleasure ; for 
Rohan Gwenfern was not the husband she would have 
chosen for her only daughter. He was too eccentric and too 
reckless, too careless an attendant at mass and too diligent a 
pupil of that terrible Master Arfoll, to suit her old-fashioned 
taste ; and often indeed, in her secret heart, she pitied her 
half-sister for having such a son. His physical beauty and 
his affectionate disposition were both known to her, and she 
loved him well ; but she viewed his vagaries with alarm, and 
feared that they might lead him to no go?cl. 



THE CORPORAL'S FIRESIDE. 75 

It wouM be absurd to affirm that Marcelle's confession 
took her altogether by surprise. She had for some time 
feared and suspected that Rohan, on his part, regarded her 
daughter with more than cousinly affection, and numberless 
secret presents from his hands — such as brooches, embroi- 
dered belts, silk neckerchiefs, and other simple fineries 
purchased at the pardons — had only confirmed her suspicions. 
As happens in most such cases, she had temporized, never 
quite believing that there was any danger of a love affair ; 
and lo ! here lay Cupid full-grown before her eyes, sleeping 
under the snowy kerchief that covered her daughter's breast. 

A mother and daughter on truly affectionate terms soon 
understand each other, and these two at once came to an 
arrangement. It was promised, on the mother's side, 
that no notice should be taken at present of what had 
occurred ; that all the family, and the Corporal in particular, 
should remain in complete ignorance of Rohan's sentiments ; 
that Rohan should be received in the house on the old footing, 
as in a measure one of the family ; and, finally, that not one 
word should be breathed as yet to Rohan's mother. It was 
conceded, on Marcelle's side, that no final answer amount- 
ing to secret betrothal was to be given to Rohan ; that 
Marcelle should not again wander in his company so far 
from home, or in any way do more to awaken suspicion or 
cause scandal ; that she should lead Rohan to understand 
that the confession made in a moment of passion was in no 
way binding, and that all would depend on the good or bad 
opinion of the widow and the Corporal. 

Naturally enough, the widow was a little shocked. Con- 
ventional propriety had been so far violated that two young 
people had taken the initiative, instead of leaving themselves 
to be disposed of by their elders in the usual fashion. 
Properly speaking, and according to strict etiquette, Rohan 
should have sent a deputy to the Corporal, explaining his 
wishes formally and stating his prospects ; it would then 
have been the Corporal's task to consult the widow, and if 
the widow was willing, simply to explain, with no particular 



76 THE SHADOW OR THE SIVORD. 

attention to the girl's wishes in the matter, that Rohan 
Gwenfern was to be her future husband ! 

To have refused an excellent match, arranged for her by 
her superiors, even if the match was with one whose face she 
had never seen, would have darkly tarnished the fame of 
any Kromlaix maiden, and her prospects of marrying would 
thenceforth have been almost as uncertain as those of a girl 
who had actually committed a breach of chastity. 

The lovers in the present instance being cousins, who had 
from childhood upward been accustomed to each other's 
society, there was little or no fear of scandal or misunder- 
standing. Marcelle had only to be careful, and Rohan 
discreet ! 

At the same time the widow prayed in her secret heart 
that Marcelle might in time be cured of her fancy for Rohan 
Gwenfern. 



CHAPTER IX. 



ST. NAPOLEON. 




>AD the Widow Derval beheld her daughter's 
face as she stood undressing in the upper 
chamber that night, she would have felt that 
her prayers were almost useless. 

The little chamber contained two small beds 
in the wall, each white as snow, as is the linen of the poorest 
Breton cottage. In one of these the widow, fatigued with a 
long day's work, slept soundly and peacefully, while Marcelle, 
preparing for rest, lingered over her toilette with a rapture 
which she had never known before. 

The floor was black and bare, the walls were black too, 
and round the beds themselves were hooks, whereon hung 
sundry articles of female attire. The chief furniture in the 
room was a table and a form ; on the table stood, burning 
low, an old-fashioned oil lamp. In a press in the corner 
stood a great oaken chest, whence came the smell of clean 
linen, perfumed with little bags of dried rose-leaves j and 
not far from the chest, fixed in a frame against the wall, 
was a rude mirror of common glass. 

Marcelle had divested herself of her outer skirt, her sabots 
and stockings, her bodice, and her white coif; and now, in 
undress as pure as samite, she stood loosening her beautiful 
long hair, and caressing it with her two pretty hand?. As 
the dark tresses rained over her shoulders, she gazed at her 



78 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

image in the glass, and blushed to see it looking back at 
her with eyes so sparkling and cheeks so bright. Then 
winding one long tress around her forefinger, and contemplat- 
ing herself serenely, she went over again in her mind the 
scene of the morning. She felt the strong embracing arms, 
she heard the softly murmuring sea, she was conscious again 
of loving kisses on the lips. Then, thoroughly pleased with 
herself, she smiled ; and the image answered her from the 
darkness of the wall. She bent closer, as if to view herself 
the better. The image stooped and brightened. . Then, 
carried away by an impulse she could not resist, she put her 
red lips against the glass, close against the lips of the image, 
in one long, soft, caressing, loving kiss. A kiss for herself, 
with whom she was thoroughly well pleased ! 

She unloosened her hair, and touched it lovingly. It was 
such a treasure as few Breton maids possessed ; not a lock 
of it had ever been sold to the travelling barber, and she 
preserved it in her coif as a precious though secret posses- 
sion. Not " Gold-hair," whom our poet of passion had so 
sweetly sung, loved her bright growth better. Marcelle, too, 
would have prayed to have it with her in her grave. 

What is more divine on this low earth than Beauty lingering 
over herself, not in vanity, not in folly or pride, but with that 
still joy in its own deliciousness which a sweet flower might 
be supposed to feel, with that calm rapture of its own light 
which lives in the being of a star ? From the soft caressing 
fingers, to the pink and prettily formed feet, Marcelle was 
fair, a softly rounded form of perfect womanhood — perfec- 
tion from the dark arched neck to the white and dimpled 
knee. And she knew it, this Breton peasant girl, as Helena 
and Aphrodite knew it ; not, as it were, with her mind, not, 
as it were, quite consciously, but as simply felt in her breath- 
ing, stirring in her heart, whispering in her ear : just as 
though a flower might enjoy its own perfume, while softly 
shedding it on the summer air. 

At last she upbraided her hair, and stood hesitating for a 
moment ; then, gently as a fountain falls, she sank on her 



ST. NAPOLEON. 79 

knee before the chair, and bowing her face between her 
hands, began to pray. 

Right over her head painted on cardboard, and hung 
against the wall, was a figure of Our Lady, with the Inlant 
in her lap holding a lily and brightly smiling. Though the 
figures were covered with gold and silver tinsel, and the very 
stalk of the lily was stuck on in gold leaf, the faces were 
comely enough, and the whole suggestion atoned for the 
vulgar execution. 

And Marcelle prayed. " In the name of the Father, and 
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." 

She thanked the Lord for His favours ; she begged Him 
to make her sins known unto her, whether against God, or 
against her neighbour, or against herself. Then she re- 
peated the general Confession. 

Then, uplifting her eyes to the picture, the Litany of the 
Blessed Virgin. 

Presently, in a low clear voice, she prayed for those who 
loved her and whom she loved. For the soul of her dead 
father, for the old Corporal and her beloved mother, for her 
brothers Hoel, Gildas, Alain, and Jannick. Lastly, in a 
lower voice still, she breathed the name of Rohan Gwenfern, 
and trembled as she prayed. " Bless my love for Rohan, O 
blessed Lady, and grant me now thy grace, that I may never 
offend against thee more." 

There was a pause. Her prayer seemed finished ; she 
was silent for a moment. Then uncovering her eyes, she 
looked up, not at the picture of Our Lady and her Son, but 
at another picture, less large and highly coloured, which 
hung on the same wall. 

It was that of a Man in soldier's costume, standing on an 
eminence and pointing down with still forefinger at a red 
light below him, which seemed to come from some burning 
town. His face was white as marble ; and at his feet 
crouched, like dogs waiting to be unleashed, their heads 
close against theground, several grizzly grenadiers, moustached 
and bearded, with bloodshot eyes each with his bayonet set. 



So THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The picture was rude but terrible, vulgar but sublime. It 
was the lurid representation of a fact which a more artistic 
treatment might have ruined. 

Not with a less gentle love, not with a less deep reverence, 
did Marcelle regard this picture than the other. Her eyes 
lingered over it tenderly, her lips moved as if they would 
have kissed it ; then her face softly fell into her hands, as 
before some higher Presence. 

She prays again ; and as she prays, mark how above the 
bed wherein she is to lie are hung suspended a g.un and 
bayonet, and above these, on a high shelf, lie, clean and 
carefully brushed and folded, an old knapsack, haversack, 
cartouche-box, shako, and great coat. These too are 
sacred ; for the old Corporal has worn and borne them in 
many a war. He does not, like some veterans, parade them 
ostentatiously over his fireplace ; he keeps them here apart, 
in the sanctity of this virgin bed. 

" And lastly, O merciful God, for the sake of Jesus thy 
Son and Our Holy Mother and all the Saints, preserve the 
good Emperor, and give him victory over his enemies, and 
cast down the wicked who seek to destroy him and his 
people, and fill his lap with blessings, for the sake of the 
blessings he has given us. Amen, Amen ! " 

And so the last and perchance not the worst of Saints, St. 
Napoleon, stands impassive, pointing downward, while 
the maiden rises from her knees, her eyes dim with the inten- 
sity and earnestness of her prayer. 

Soon she has unclothed her limbs and blown out the lamp, 
and crept into bed ; and very soon after she is sound asleep ; 
while the old bayonet, which has drunk many a human 
creature's blood, keeps its place above her head, and the 
figures of the Virgin and of St. Napoleon, side by side, 
remain near her through the watches of the nitrht. 



CHAPTER X. 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 




jPEAK low, for it is the Kannerez-noz who 
sing ; stoop, hide, lest the Kannerez-noz 
may see ; for they wash their bloody linen 
white as snow, and their eyes look hither, 
and they sing together no earthly song. 
Holy Virgin, keep us ! Son of God, protect us ! Amen ! 
Amen ! " 

Thus, in the wild words of an old Celtic sone, murmurs the 
wayfarer as he moves by night along the silent ways, and 
peers here and there with timid eyes, and sees spectral 
shadows assail his path, till his heart leaps at the sight of 
the light in his cottage window afar. Well may he fear the 
dreadful Washerwomen of the Night, for these are no fairy 
fancies bred in the bright imaginations of a sunny place, but 
spectres, lonely and horrible, of darkness and death. 
Doomed is he who thus beholds them in the loneliness of the 
night, since it is his shroud they are washing with skeleton 
lingers, and it is his face-cloth they stretch to dry on the 
starlit sward beside the brook, and it is his dirge they are 
singing as they stoop above the glimmering stream in the 
shadowy wood or by the lonely shore. 

Night after night the Kannerez-noz are busy ; their work 
is never done, for the long line of the Dead ceases never 
Sometimes in the haunted forest, oftener under the shadowy 



82 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD 

crags, they wash and wring. And the fisherman from his 
craft by night sees them as often as does the waggoner 
crossing the great moors with his loads of salt. Down here 
at Kromlaix — even here, where most men would die of old 
age were it not for the accursed conscription — they ply their 
trade. Drifting along under the shadow of the Menhir, 
floating close to the Gate of St. Gildas, and dozing at the 
helm, many a Kromlaix man has seen the crags part open, 
revealing a spectral village, with a silver kirk in the midst 
from whence the a?igelns rings, a graveyard bright with 
silver tombs, a Calvary where the figures were not stone but 
white skeletons, and far away houses thatched with silver, 
with crimson window-panes and shadows moving within ; 
and then, half wakening and shivering, he has beheld the 
strand below, the spectral village all bestrewn with linen 
white as snow ind has seen — ah, God, with his living eyes 
has seen ! — tht Kannerez crouching close beside the sea, and 
has heard their terrible voices singing the dirge of dread ! 
What avail to cross himself now, and call on Jesu and the 
Blessed Lady and all the Saints ? for sure it is that that 
man's shroud is woven, and all that remains uncertain is 
whether he will die on firm land or out there in the great 
sea. 

At the front of Mother Gwenfern's cottage door, situated 
apart in the shadow of the crag, stood Rohan and Master 
Arfoll, looking downward towards the strand and calmly 
contemplating the very scene on which superstition has 
based its horrible dream of the Washerwomen of the Night. 
For it was a calm night, of little wind ; the moon every 
minute was darkened by slowly drifting cloud, and few stars 
were visible ; and down on the sand, murmuring and some- 
times singing, were shadowy figures stooping over hidden 
pools, and all around them were gleams of whiteness, as of 
linen spread upon the shingle. Here and there a lantern 
glimmered from the ground, or moved hither and thither in 
unseen hands. Behind these murmuring groups with flitting 
lights lay Kromlaix, the moonlight shimmering on its roofs. 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 83 

the red lights gleaming in its windows — as strange as any 
spectra] village seen in a half-dream. 

It was dead low water, the fountains were upbursting from 
the hidden river far below, and the women and maidens of 
Kromlaix were collected there, washing their linen or dipping 
their pitchers for water, while they gossiped over the news. 
Here, night or day, whenever it was low water, they gathered, 
old and young ; and, naturally enough, the Fountain was the 
leading centre of all the scandal and gossip of the place. 

That fancy of the Kannerez had occurred to Master Arfoll, 
as he quietly contemplated the far-off busy scene. 

" It is so, mark you, that ' superstition ' constructs its tales," 
he said. " Could you not fancy now that the Kannerez-noz 
were before you, washing their white shrouds in the pure 
pools ? The Kannerez ! not pretty maids like your Cousin 
Marcelle, with their white feet tripping on the warm sand { " 

" Nevertheless, Master Arfoll," returned Rohan, laughing, 
"there are many there who would pass for the Kannerez 
even by broad day. Old Mother Barbaik, for example." 

Master Arfoll did not laugh, but kept his sad eyes fixed, as 
he said — 

" Poor women ! poor old mothers, with their weary limbs 
and broken hearts, and hearts that will soon be broken 
more ! Ah, Rohan, it is a pleasant thing to be young and 
strong and pretty like Marcelle, but it is a sore thing to grow 
old and despised like Mother Barbaik of whom you speak. 
Hath she not a son ? " 

" Yes." 

" An only son ? " 

" Yes ; Jannick — you will know him, Master Arfoll, by 
sight — he walks lame, and hath a great hunch on one 
shoulder, and tr*o of his right-hand fingers have never 
grown ! " 

" God has been very good to him ! '' said Master Arfoll 
luietly. 

"Good, Master Arfoll! " 

" To him — and to his poor old mother. Better, Rohan, ip 



84 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORE 

these clays to be born halt and lame, or deaf and blind, than 
to grow up into man's strength. Happy Jannick ! He will 
never go to war ! Mother Barbaik can keep her child ! " 

There was a long pause. Both men watched the Fountain 
and the sea, but with different emotions. The itinerant's 
heart was full of the terrible calm of pity and unselfishness ; 
Rohan's was stirred by a stormy passion. 

At last Rohan spoke. He seemed like one concluding a 
long train of reflection rather than opening a subject. 

" After all, my name will be on the list ! " 

" No doubt." 

" And my number may be drawn ? " 

" Perhaps ; — but God forbid ! " 

Rohan turned his face full on his companion's, and laughed 
fiercely, quickly ; a laugh with no joy in it, only desperation. 

" God forbid ? — I am sick of hearing God's name mentioned 
so !" 

" Never be sick of hearing God's name," said Master 
Arfoll gently. 

" God forbid ? What does God forbid ? Cruelty, butchery, 
battle, hunger, disease ! None of these ! He sits calm, if 
He is at all, giving his world over to devils. Ah, Master 
Arfoll, you know ! You have seen ! And yet — you have 
faith ! " 

Rohan laughed again almost contemptuously. As he 
stood thus, towering by the frail figure of Master Arfoll, he 
seemed (with his fair hair and leonine locks) like some 
mighty giant of the north. 

" I have faith," answered Master Arfoll, and his fa.se shone 
beautiful in the moonlight ; " I have faith, and I think I shall 
have it till I die. You have seen little of the world ; I have 
seen much. You have suffered nothing ; I have lost all ; and 
yet I say to you now, my son, as I would say to you in your 
despair : God forbid — that I should doubt my God ! " 

" And yet, mark you, He suffers these things." 

" It is so," answered Master Arfoll simply. " While men 
remain ignorant, these things will be ; when men grow wise, 



AT THE FOUMTAlN. 85 

these things will cease. Man, not God, is the scourge of 
man. God made the world beautiful, and God is joy ; the 
wicked are unhappy, see you, and they do not know God." 
" Who knows Him, then ? — Those only who weep ? " 
"Those who help Him, Rohan." 
"How?" 

" By fulfilling His law of love ; by loving all things, hoping 
all things, enduring all things. But stay, my Rohan, perhaps 
my God is not yours. Mine is not the god of monsieur le 
curi, nor the god of Uncle Ewen, neither the god of priests 
nor the lord god of battles. He is the Voice within my own 
heart, answering all the voices that cry around me, ' There 
is no hope ! despair, despair ! ' " 

Rohan inclined his head, not irreverently, for he had been 
an apt pupil and he adored his master ; but the spirit of 
wrath was still strong within him, and his eyes burnt angrily. 
The blood of the Gwenferns was fire. In this man native 
passion and pride had been subdued by accidental culture 
into something eminently noble ; but the elements were 
there, and it only needed some insufferable outrage or 
indignity to turn him again into the original savage Adam. 
" Let me speak again of the conscription, Master Arfoll," he 
said in a voice trembling with agitation. " It is coming 
again, and the Emperor may say to any man, ' Follow me ! ' 
Tell me then— is this the will of God ? " 
" It is not ! " 

" And a man would be justified in answering the Emperor, 
4 No, I will not follow, for thy leadership is accurst ' ? " 
" There ig 310 escape — he who is called must go ! " 
" But first answer — would that man be justified ? " 
" Before God he would." 

Rohan Gwenfern threw his hands up into the air. 
" Then, remember, if ever that call should come to me, if 
ever the bloody hand should be laid upon my shoulder and 
the bloody finger point me forward — remember, then, what I 
swear now — I will resist to the last drop of my blood, to the 
last fibre of my flesh ; though all the world should be against 

G 



86 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD, 

me, even what I love best, I will be firm ; though the 
Emperor himself should summon me, I will defy him. They 
may kill me, but they cannot make me kill. Master Arfoll, 
if the time comes, remember that I " 

The words poured forth in a torrent. Could the speaker's 
face have been seen, it would have appeared quite bloodless 
— the lips compressed, the eyes set, the whole countenance 
in one white heat of passionate resolve. Almost involuntarily, 
as he concluded, Gwcnfern crossed himself — a custom which 
he seldom followed, but which he now adopted in the 
vehemence of his feeling, as if calling God to witness his 
oath. 

Master Arfoll sighed. The words seemed wild and raving, 
and he had heard such frantic protestations made before, but 
the end had ever been the same — despairing submission to 
inevitable destiny. 

A few moments afterwards the men shook hands, and 
Master Arfoll made his way up the cliff side. 

"God forbid, indeed," he thought, "that the lot should 
ever fall on him / He is a lamb now, for he has known only 
green fields and the breath of peace ; but I see the wild spirit 
within him — the first blood of battle would change him into 
a wild beast ! " 

While this dialogue was proceeding the scene at the 
Fountain was growing brisker. Seen closer, it lost much of 
its weird mystery, and became a lively human picture. 

About midway between high and low water-marks glim- 
mered numerous pools, fresh dug by the hands of the women ; 
for wherever holes were scooped the fresh water bubbled up ; 
and around the pools, kneeling on boards and old thwarts of 
boats, and sometimes even on the shingle with their bare 
unprotected knees, were busy groups of white-capped women 
and girls, washing, beating their linen with their wooden 
bats, laughing and chattering as merrily as a sisterhood of 
rooks which the moon keeps awake in the tree-tops. 

The sands were still luminous with the ebbed tide, and 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 87 

strewn with tangled weeds and gleaming jelly-fish. The air 
was warm, but piquant with the odours of ocean, and every 
breath of it wafted inland the night-moths and large gnats 
that people sandy places. 

At intervals there came from the dim sea the cry of some 
belated and solitary gull ; and once a great white owl, while 
prowling purblind among the clefts of the moonlit crags, 
blundered across the open space of the Fountain, and, 
uttering a startled scream, buried itself in the gloom of the 
cliffs beyond. 

Among the pools were some preserved for domestic 
purposes, and at these were young girls and children with 
earthen pitchers and wooden pails, some standing, others 
coming and going. 

Among those lingering stood Marcelle, her pitcher balanced 
on her head, her eyes turned to the groups of women who 
chattered near her in the moonlight. 

She was not a popular member of that assembly, for she 
had two great drawbacks in the eyes of the women — her 
beauty, and her connection with the old Corporal. 

As a rule, the Fountain (the place of many pools was 
always spoken of thus, in the singular number) was a scene 
of extraordinary animation and merriment. Every matter of 
public or private interest was discussed and analyzed there ; 
characters were beaten to shreds by tongues as hard as the 
wooden bats of their owners ; the foibles of friends and 
neighbours were turned inside out and well scrubbed, amid a 
blinding spray of prattle. Not the congress of women, in the 
great play of Aristophanes, kept up a more incessant chatter. 
It must be admitted, moreover, that much of the humour 
ventilated at the Fountain had an Aristophanic broadness, — 
reminding one terribly of the " Lysistrata." The gaudriole 
had its place vindicated here, as much as in the page of 
Bdranger. Yet these were modest matrons, meek as mice 
before their husbands, God-fearing, loving, gentle. They 
merely prattled together over the secrets of their matronhood, 
and, though they sometimes laughed coarsely, meant no harm. 



88 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

As for the younger females, they clustered together, and 
discussed their love affairs, with much tittering and whisper- 
ing, and no naughtiness whatever. There were lovely maids 
among them, but none quite so lovely as Marcelle. Marcelle 
was stately as a grande dame, and never condescended to 
foolishness ; for which characteristic hauteur, be certain they 
loved her none the more. 

So there she stood lingering in the moonlight, fair and 
happy as Marguerite before she learned to sing " Meine Ruh' 
ist hin, mein Herz ist schwer ! " Something in the gossip of 
the elder women had struck her ear, and she had paused to 
listen. 

That night there was laughing and singing and chattering 
enough, but these had ever and anon been interrupted by 
pauses of thoughtful silence, broken betimes by low anxious 
whispers. 

"Ah, mon Dieu ! it is all true enough, little Joan, as some 
of us shall soon know to our sorrow ! " cried one of the 
women. 

" It will be a sore day for Kromlaix," said another, looking 
up from the pool over which she was leaning. "Our Piarik 
was taken the last time, and he has never come back yet." 

" Ah, but he lives ! " said the first speaker. 

" Yes, he lives ! " 

"It is your house that has the luck," cried a grizzly 
giantess with grey hair, whose brawny arms were busy in the 
same pool. " My Jannick and my Gillarm are gone, with 
never a priest to give them a blessing or a friend to pray their 
poor souls to God ! " 

She drew a heavy breath, while her face was contorted 
with agony, but she had a mighty man's heart, which would 
break rather than find relief in tears. 

"No one says it is not true," said the girl called Joan, a 
small but adult girl who walked lame, " but the time is not 
fixed, and some say the Emperor himself does not know 
his plans. It may be a year — two years — none can tell. 
Father Rolland was telling mother to-day — for when she 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 89 

heard of it she was very anxious about Hoel and Le*on, as 
you conceive — that the lists do not mean very much. The 
men may not be wanted for a long time ; and, again, there 
may be peace, and no one may have to go at all." 

" One cannot understand why the Emperor does not make 
peace. Is he not the master? When one is master like 
that, peace is easy." 

The masculine woman who had formerly spoken gave a 
fierce laugh. 

" The Emperor ! — Say the Devil, and all is said — does the 
Devil make peace ? " 

This was more than Marcelle could bear. 

" Silence, Yvonne Penvenn ; you have no right to say 
such things ; and as for your sons, they are better where 
they are than where they used to be, at the cabaret fighting 
and cursing." 

Yvonne lifted up her worn face and glared at the speaker, 
but Marcelle was not to be daunted. 

" You know well that what I say is true, and the good 
God knows 1 pity you, but you should not talk as you do. 
Listen ! It is the English who will not let the Emperor 
make peace." 

All became attentive. Marcelle spoke as one having 
authority. 

" My Uncle Ewen says the Emperor would be glad to 
rest, but the English have bought over all the kings with 
their gold, and they will not suffer him. Have you seen a 
swarm of wasps round a man going to market across the 
sandhills of Traonili ? Well, it is like that ! They cannot 
hurt the great Emperor, these wasps of Prussians and 
English, but they can keep him troubled — they can prevent 
him from making peace ! " 

A general murmur of voices was the answer ; some agreed 
with Marcelle, many dissented strongly — each spoke accord- 
ing to her own slake in the game. 

" But why, then," asked a young matron, " is the sergeant 
in such a hurry about preparing the lists ? If there was to 



90 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

be no drawing at all — or only after six months or a year- 
why should there be such haste to get the names ? For my 
part, I understand it all — the Emperor has a new plan in his 
head, and we shall hear of it before harvest." 

A general groan followed this unpopular prophecy. 

As the speaker finished, a little old woman, bent nearly 
double with age, hobbled in among the group with a crock 
in one hand and a stout ash staff in the other. Setting the 
vessel down on the shingle, she stood panting for breath ; 
then, clasping the staff with both hands and resting her chin 
on her wrists, she surveyed the speaker with a strange 
glitter in her black eyes. 

Meantime, the little maid called Joan answered the 
would-be prophetess. 

" Come must, come will," she said, sententiously. " There 
is at least this comfort, the Emperor does not want all ; each 
man takes his chance ; and the lots are in God's hands, 
after all." 

"And one can light a candle up at Notre Dame de la 
Garde," said the other. " There is hope yet, and to blame 
the Emperor is not fair." 

She was a young mother, and all her children were little 
fledgelings, who had but lately left the nest of her enfolding 
arms. So what cared she? Her husband was fishing on 
the cod-banks of Newfoundland, and all her brood was safe. 

" I cried when our poor Antonin died in the fall of the 
leaf," said a girl who had not yet spoken, and who was 
quietly filling the crock of the old woman who had last 
arrived. " I cried then ; but now I do not care, if God has 
taken him instead of the conscription." 

A pathetic murmur answered her. The old woman stood 
still, leaning on her staff, as if fascinated. 

" For our part, we are safe," cried Joan ; " I have only one 
brother, and the Emperor does not take the only sons." 

Marcelle, who was slowly retreating, turned sharply at 
this statement. 

" It is a good thing;," she cried, with a scornful laugh, " to 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 91 

have three full-grown brothers left, and none of them 
cowards. One of mine, at least, will look upon the Emperor. 
Would I were a man that I might go ! " 

One or two girls echoed the sentiment : it is so easy 
to be courageous when one is in no personal peril. 

" But as for your only sons," she continued, " the Emperor 
has changed all that this time. Every strong man will take 
his chance — all except the blind and the poor idiots will 
have to go if 'tis the Emperor's will. What then ? Vive 
V Empereur ! " 

Not a voice echoed her ; the women surveyed her in grim 
silence, and made signs to each other. Only the infirm old 
creature leaning on her staff uttered a feeble wail. Hobbling 
over to Marcelle, she clutched her arm. 

" That is false, Marcelle Derval ! " 

" What is false, Mother Goron ? " 

" That the only sons will be drawn. That is what the 
sergeant says, but it is false." 

" You are right, Mother Goron," sympathetically murmured 
several voices ,- and angry faces crowded round Marcelle. 

The old woman trembled like an aspen leaf, and her thin 
voice piped despairingly — 

" Ah, God, it cannot be true. The sergeant says that no 
one will be exempt — no one at all, but it cannot be true. I 
have talked to the sergeant, and he says the Emperor must 
have men — thousands, millions — soon ! It is to cut the 
throats of the Germans, and that is just. But the Emperor 
shall not have my boy. I have prayed that the Emperor 
might have victories ; while he left me my boy, I say, I have 
prayed for the Emperor every night. The others are dead 
— they died young — and I have only Jan." 

Marcelle was touched, and laid her hand softly on those 
of the old woman. 

"Have no fear, Mother Goron !" she said. "The ser- 
geant knows all that — and that you have no one but Jan. 
He will not let him be put down in the lists, and even if 
his name was drawn, he would not suffer him to go." 



92 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" My curse upon them all !" cried the old crone madly 
" My Jan is tall and strong, and they always draw the strong 
and the tall. Ah, they are cunning ; they cheat in the draw- 
ing, and take the best. And the Emperor is making ready 
once more ! But he shall not have my Jan : as God is in 
Heaven he shall not have my Jan !" 

With a look of pity, Marcelle departed, walking slowly up 
the beach in the light of the moon, which had now grown 
brighter, and was lying like silver on the sands and on the 
sea. As she reached the shadow of the village, a dark figure 
joined her, and a low voice murmured her name. 

" Marcelle !" 

" Rohan !" 

There was a silent kiss in the moonlight, and then Rohan 
lifted up his hands to take the pitcher of water. 

" Let me carry it for you — it is heavy !" 

" No, it is quite light !" 

He persisted, but she would not suffer him to release her of 
her burthen ; so he followed quietly at her side. 

" You are late at the Fountain, Marcelle. The tide has 
turned." 

"Yes." 

That was all they said till they were near the Corporal's 
door. Rohan was unusually gloomy and taciturn, but to 
Marcelle there was a delicious pleasure in this silent com- 
panionship. 

" Will you not come in ?" she said, setting down her 
pitcher. 

The street was empty, and they were quite alone. 

" Not to-night," answered Rohan. 

He had both her hands now, and was drawing her face 
quietly to his. All at once she drew back, laughing, and 
said — 

" After all, then, the news is true I" 

" What news ?" he asked, kissing her. 

" There will be more war. The Emperor is mad against 
the Germans." 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 93 

It was as if the lips of a corpse had been put to his ; he 
drew back shivering. 

" What is the matter ?" she asked softly. 

" It is nothing ; only the night is cold. And so there will 
be more war ? Well, that is old news at the best." 

He was trying hard to conquer the emotion that was fast 
mastering him ; and his voice did not tremble. All at once, 
and absolutely for the first time, it flashed upon the girl, 
looking in his face, that this man, her lover, might be called 
among the rest. A sharp pain ran through her heart. 

" Ah, Rohan," she said, self-reproachfully, " I had for- 
gotten — I did not think — the only sons will be drawn too !" 

Rohan laughed. The laugh had fierceness in it, which 
Marcelle, in her own emotion, scarcely noticed. 

"What then?" he asked. 

The maid hung her head, still with both her hands clasped 
in his, and answered, using for the first time that night the 
endearing second personal pronoun— 

"And //«?«/" 

There was a pause. Rohan shivered and did not reply. 
Presently the girl, coming close to him and putting both her 
arms around his neck, so that he could feel her heart beating 
against his own, kissed him passionately on the lips of her 
own accord. 

" My Rohan ! my brave Rohan ! It is true ; thy name is 
down, and may be drawn, and if so, thou wilt leave me — 
thou wilt go away to serve the great Emperor, and to fight 
for France. I will not speak falsely — I am praying that thou 
mayst not go ; but if thou goest, I will not cry — I will be 
brave. It is hard to part with one's best beloved — ah yes, it 
is hard ; but it is for the Emperor's sake — and, for that what 
would we not do ? If it is his will and God's, I will not be 
sorry. Nay, then, I will be proud !" 

She passed her hands across her eyes, which were moist 
with tears. Just then a voice from the Corporal's threshold 
cried loudly — 

■" Marcelle J * 



94 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Kissing her lover quickly once again, Marcelle caught up 
her pitcher and hurried rapidly away, leaving Rohan stand- 
ing silent in the shadow of the street. He had not answered 
her, nor interrupted her ; he was too amazed, too sick of 
heart. Her very kiss had seemed terrible to him. He felt 
now, for the first time, how far their feelings ran apart ; how 
their souls prayed asunder, like worshippers who adore 
different gods. 

And with all this the love within him rose wave by wave, 
ever stronger and stronger, till, between its rapturous excess 
and the new terror that was pursuing him, he seemed as a 
man gone mad. 

Nevertheless, as he walked in the moonlight hour after 
hour that night, sometimes conjuring up the beloved face 
again and feeling the passionate embrace, sometimes shudder- 
ing as he remembered all the fierce bigotry and adoration of 
the heart he had pressed against his own, he more than once 
raised his hands to Heaven and cried silently — 

" I have sworn it, O my God ! Never, never 7" 



CHAPTER XI. 




THE RED ANGEL. 

OR I will pass through the land of Egypt this 
night, and will smite all the firstborn in the 
land of Egypt, both man and beast ; and 
against all the gods of Egypt I will execute 
judgment : I am the Lord ! And the blood 
shall be for a token upon the houses where my people are !" 
So whispered Jehovah in the ears of Moses and Aaron, in 
Egypt long ago, and the passover lambs were slain, and the 
Angel of the Lord passed over the houses where the blood 
was set as a token, and the Lord's chosen were saved, and 
all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 

So was it in Egypt long ago, and there was safety at least 
for those the Lord loved. So was it not in France at the 
opening of this century, for the Lord was silent afar, and 
there were no Moses and Aaron to lead His beloved out of 
the wicked land. 

And instead of God's passover and the blood of the Lamb 
upon the dwellings of the people, there was a great darkness, 
and blood indeed upon the houses, but not of lambs ; for on 
almost every threshold there gleamed a crimson token, not 
God's token but Cain's ; — a token, not of deliverance, but of 
doom. 



As a spent storm flies across the earth, Napoleon had has- 



go THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

tened from Moscow to Paris, little daunted by the loss of 
500,000 men, little heedful of the cries and tears of innumer- 
able widows and orphan children. How had he been greeted 
by the people of his Empire ? With curses and groans, with 
passionate prayers and appeals ? On the contrary, with 
blessings and acclamations. The cities of his Empire- 
Rome, Florence, Milan, Hamburg, Mayence, Amsterdam- 
put their smartest raiment on, and wore lilies in their hair. 
The public officials flocked in to offer their felicitations. 
" What is life," cried the Prefect of Paris, " in comparison 
with the immense interests which rest on the sacred head o* 
the heir to the Empire?" " Reason," cried M. de Fontagnes, 
grand-master of the Imperial University — " Reason pauses 
before the mystery of power and obedience, and abandons 
all inquiry to that religion which made the persons of Kings 
sacred, after the image of God Himself !" To this tune, and 
with even more hideous flourishes, danced, raved, and blas- 
phemed the scented arch-priests of the imperial Baal. 

And meantime the heavens opened and buried the Grand 
Army deeper and deeper under the silent snows ; and in 
every home there was an empty place, in every house an 
aching heart ; and from every ruined home there went up a 
bitter cry — " We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord !" 

But the lord meant by those who cried was not Jehovah, 
nor the All-unseen and All-merciful, nor any God of the cold 
heavens whence these snows came covering those dead. 
The lord of the broken heart was Napoleon, who usurped the 
Divine seat, and whispered his awful fiat across a desolated 
world. 

" We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord !" 

He brooded in the midst of his city, and his eyes surveyed 
the silent earth. As a spider in the heart of its web, he lay 
and waited in the heart of his city. The creature whom 
Paris had borne in those travails which shook the world, the 
child of the Revolution which began with the cry of liberated 
souls and ended with the clang of souls in chains, the soldier 
fashioned out of fire, the King-destroyer and King-liberator, 



AT THE FOUNTAW 97 

was now known veritably for what he was — Avatar, and lord 
of Europe, master and dictator of the earth. What wonder if 
madmen in their frenzy fell praying in his presence, as to very 
God! 

"We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord !" 

If he heard, he smiled. If he understood, he smiled also. 
But we may believe, indeed, that he neither understood nor 
heard. An Avatar cannot understand, for he has no wis- 
dom ; he cannot hear, for he has no ears. He has neither 
eyes, nor understanding, heart, nor ears. He looks not up- 
ward, for he cannot conceive of God ; he gazes not down- 
ward, for he cannot perceive humanity. Blind, deaf, 
irrational, pitiless, terrible, he sits as God — an earth-god, 
deadly, and born to die. 

We shall be answered here that Napoleon was what 
strange speakers and writers of all times have called a Great 
Man ; that, being such, he must have been supremely 
human, as indeed many of his utterances and doings seem 
to show. The explanation is simple. Great men of a cer- 
tain sort are great through their very negation of ordinary 
human qualities. Voltaire was great because he could not 
revere. Rousseau was great because he was incapable of 
shame. Napoleon was great because, as a sovereign, he 
was perfectly incapable of realising the consequence of his 
own deeds — because, in fact, he did not possess even an 
ordinary share of that faculty of verification which is allotted 
to common men, to men who are in no respect great. 

It is curious, as illustrating this truth, that Napoleon, when 
he saw suffering, pitied it. He could not bear to contemplate 
physical pain in any shape, and, like Goethe, he carefully 
avoided it. As a human being he had his humanities. As a 
great man, as the conqueror of Europe, he was simply an 
ignorant and irresponsible Force, without eyes or ears, or 
heart or understanding, an automaton moved by a blind and 
pitiless will to dark designs and ever fatal ends. 

They were not far wrong, therefore, though they expressed 
the truth in an image, who pictured him as ever attended 



<;8 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORU. 

in secret by a certain Man in Red, his familiar, or kcikos 
Saipcov. This secret familiar, however, was his own miracu- 
lous invention. Napoleon, indeed, was the Frankenstein of 
the War-monster which he had himself created, and which, 
from the hour of his creation, never suffered him to sleep in 
peace. 

He might be as God to the people ; to this Monster he 
was a slave. 

" Thou hast created me out of chaos — feed me : my food is 
human life. Thou hast conjured me out of the mighty 
democratic elements — clothe me : my raiment shall be 
woven by fatherless children. Thou hast fashioned me and 
fed me, and clothed me in God's name — find me a Bride, 
that my race may increase, and inhabit the earth." And the 
name of the Bride was Death. 

" We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord !" 

Perchance, indeed, he might have heard, perchance he did 
hear, and hesitated. But the Monster continued, " Quick I 
more food, for I am hungry ; more raiment, for I walk naked 
in rags ; and another Bride, for she you gave me is too cold. 
Deny me, and I will devour thee : thee and thy seed, and 
thine Empire, and thy hopes for evermore." So the Em- 
peror cried, in this dark year of 1813, " Peace, Monster ! and 
I will do thy behest ;" and leaving the dalfiav in the darkness 
of his secret chamber, he passed smiling forth, amid the 
worship of his creatures, and flowers were strewn beneath 
his feet, while music filled his ears. More food was ready — 
more raiment was being woven. Another ghastly Bride was 
soon prepared ; and the name of this Bride was Slaughter, 
youngest born of three sisters, whose other names were 
Famine and Fire. 

So Napoleon returned to the Monster and cried unto him, 
" Be thou my Red Angel, speeding across the land in the 
darkness of the night ; and as thou goest set on each 
door a crimson mark ; and whatsoever house thou 
markest shall yield up its best beloved to thee and 
thy Bride. For I am Napoleon ! And the blood shall 



AT THE FOUNTAIN. 09 

be as a token upon the houses where our victims are ! " 

" We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord !" 

The cry went up, but to what avail ? The Evil Angel had 
flown across the earth, and at dawn the crimson signs were 
on the doors. 

And the number of the newly chosen children of France 
was two hundred thousand and ten thousand ; and at his call 
they answered, each in his dwelling ; and no passover lambs 
were slain, but each one of the two hundred thousand and 
ten thousand presented himself as a. lamb for the sacrifice, 
ere the hosts of Napoleon went out anew from the land of 
France. 




CHAPTER XII. 

CORPORAL DERVAL HARANGUES THE CONSCRIPTS. 

(HOSE spring days were bright at Kromlaix ; fish 
were plentiful, and the people had never known 
a more promising time. The air was full ol 
sweetness, the heavens were blue and peaceful, 
the sea like a mirror. Yet the Shadow was 
creeping nearer, and the dreaJed hour of the Drawing ol 
Lots was close at hand. 

It was now known for certain that Napoleon had raised up 
his fatal hand, making the signal of the Conscription. 

Previous to this, the hundred cohorts of the National 
Guards — a sort of militia, enrolled under the declaration that 
they were never on any pretence to cross the frontier — had 
been turned into regular troops of the line ; while the sailors 
and marines of the French fleet had been gathered in from 
the sea, and from the sea-ports and villages which they occu- 
pied, and turned into corps of artillery. Then to crown all 
came the decree of the Senate granting to the Emperor the 
anticipation of the Conscription of 1814 — a force of some 
two hundred thousand law recruits, which, united to the 
marines and to the youths of the National Guard, would 
comprise a new army of at least 340,000 men. 

There was much public noise and jubilation, much bustling 
of functionaries and rejoicing of corporations, but by the fire- 
side there was silence and a great dread. It was soon made 



DERMAL HARANGUES THE CONSCRIPTS. 101 

known far and near that, owing to the great national losses 
and the immense drain on the lives of the population during 
the last campaigns, the old pleas of exemption from service 
were to be disallowed. Only sons were to take their chance 
with the rest. A rigorous inspection would follow the ballot, 
and few indeed would escape on the score of deformity or 
bodily infirmity. Every conscript who drew a fatal number 
would have to go. As to purchasing a substitute, that would 
be out of the question. 

One mercy was afforded to the people, that of immediate 
relief from the agony of suspense. The ballot was to take 
place at once, in the little neighbouring town of St. Gurlott. 

The morning of the fatal day came soon, and came with 
blue skies, white clouds, and the softest of winds upon the sea. 

As the sun slowly rose, colouring all the ocean to delicate 
rose and burning brightly on the little village, a head in a red 
nightcap was thrust out of the street door of Corporal 
Ewen's house, and the eyes of the Corporal himself looked 
with an approving twinkle at the weather. 

" Soul of St. Gildas ! " he muttered to himself ; " it is a 
good omen. The morning of Austerlitz was not more sunny." 

Here, however, he heaved a sigh, and looked down con- 
temptuously at his wooden leg, of which Austerlitz was the 
cause. 

Then, hobbling into the house, he proceeded with his 
toilette, shaving carefully, brushing up his best semi-military 
clothes, polishing his red cheeks till they shone again, and 
chattering to himself like some invalid daw in the privacy of 
his cage. 

When all his preparations were finished, he sat down, in 
his shirt sleeves, before the fire — which he had already lit 
with his own hands — and began to smoke his usual " pipe 
before breakfast." 

He was an early riser, and invariably the first to move 
about the house and light the fire. He would cook his own 
breakfast, too, upon occasion, with the skill of an old cam- 
paigner. 



102 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Hoel and Gildas — the twins — were still snoring in one oi 
the lits clos in the kitchen ; the other, just vacated by the 
Corporal, was lying open. 

The first to descend the black wooden stairs was Marcelle. 
She wore her coif, and her face was very pale. 

The Corporal turned at her step, drew the pipe from his 
mouth, and as she came up and kissed him on the weather- 
oeaten cheek, exclaimed quickly, 

" Thou, little one ! But where is thy mother ? " 

" She sleeps still, and I did not waken her ; it is still 
early." 

Uncle Ewen puffed rapidly, and looked at the fire. It was 
a fact almost unprecedented to find the busy widow lying in 
bed after her daughter had risen ; but the Corporal almost 
guessed the truth, or some of it. Bright as the day might 
seem to him, to her it was a day of trouble ; and all night 
long she had been weeping and thinking of her three dead 
sons, and praying that the good God might spare her those 
who remained. 

"Humph!" grunted the old soldier, glancing at the 
sleeping twins. " They, too, are sound. Hoel ! Gildas ! 
It is time to rise." 

While Marcelle walked to the door, leaning against the 
doorpost and looking out into the street, the young giants 
rose and were soon sitting with their uncle by the fire. 
Presently down came Alain and Jannick, looking very cross 
and sleepy ; and last of all, Mother Derval herself, white as 
a ghost, and very silent. 

Meantime Marcelle stood in the street, watching the little 
village wake. Brighter and brighter grew the light ; 
windows and doors were thrown open, heads were thrust 
out, voices were heard ; and presently a little girl passed, 
going to the fountain, for it was low water. The little girl 
wore a tight white cap, wooden shoes, and a stiff bright- 
coloured holiday petticoat. 

"How, Marrianic," cried Marcelle, "art thou, too, going 
to St. Gurlott ? " 



DERVAL HARANGUES THE CONSCRIPTS. 103 

" Yes," answered Marrianic eagerly. " I am going with 
mother and Uncle Maturin and my brothers. There will be 
great fun — as good as at the Pardons. I must run now, for 
mother is waiting for water." 

And she ran on down the street, smiling gaily and singing 
to herself an old Celtic song. The Conscription to her 
meant a holiday, and she was too young to comprehend 
sorrow in any shape. 

Marcelle sighed. Her enthusiasm for the great cause 
remained, but somehow her mother's tears had troubled her, 
and she was thinking very sadly of her three dead brothers 
— and yes ! of Rohan. She was selfish enough, despite her 
principles, to pray that Rohan might not be taken. Her 
first sip of Love had been so delicious, and her nature was 
composed of such passionate elements, that she could not 
bear to lose her lover so soon. 

The sun was fully up, and Kromlaix, like a great bee-hive, 
stood in the sunshine, with its inhabitants moving in and 
out. Nearly all wore their best. The white caps and 
coloured skirts and embroidered bodices of the women shone 
gaily in the sun. The men lounged hither and thither, some 
in coloured cotton nightcaps, some in broad hats of felt ; 
many in loose breeches and sabots, but the greatest number 
in tight trousers, black gaiters, and rude leather iihoes. 
Early as it was, some had already set forth inland, on the 
road to St. Gurlott. 

Re-entering the house, Marcelle found breakfast ready, 
her mother still stooping over the fire, the Corporal and his 
four nephews seated round the table eating black bread. 
Each of the men had also a tin mug before him, and on the 
table was a stone jug with cider. The Corporal was rattling 
his mug and addressing " the Maccabees." 

" Attention ! I drink to the Emperor ! " 

The others joined with a certain enthusiasm, for the cider 
was good, and moreover an unusual luxury. Marcelle sat 
down and began to break a little bread, but her mother did 
not turn round. 



io4 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Mother, mother," cried Uncle Ewen, with reproachful 
gentleness, addressing the widow, " come ! thou wilt put us 
out of heart. Have courage ! See now, all the world will 
not be drawn, and perhaps none of thine. If the worst 
comes to the worst, little woman, thou wilt be proud to serve 
the Emperor in his trouble, and he may send thee back 
what thou lovest safe and sound.'' 

The widow's answer was a deep sigh. As for the young 
men, they looked cheerful enough. They were not suffi- 
ciently old to grieve over danger before it came ; and besides 
they all possessed a certain pugnacity and raw courage 
which the enthusiasm of Uncle Ewen had almost developed 
into a sentiment. 

" For my part," cried Hoel, " I shall take my chance. If 
I go, I go. It is in God's hands." 

v If the drawing is fair ! "cried Gildas suddenly, scowling. 

The old Corporal struck his fist on the table. 

" Soul of a crow ! does not the Emperor see to that ! And 
who doubts the Emperor ? What Hoel said was right — it is 
God that shuffle rhe numbers, and we that draw. He that 
God picks out should be proud Look at thy sister Marcelle ! 
Were she a man sue wouiu oicak her heart if she did not go." 

" It is all very well to talk," said Hoel, " when one is a 
woman." 

"Bah ! then hear me, I who am a man !" said the Corporal, 
oblivious of the fact that his nephews had heard him almost 
too often. " This is the way to look at it, mother ! When a 
man's time comes, when the Angel with the white face 
arrives and knocks, we must get up and let him in. It is no 
matter where he hides — on land or sea, here or there — he 
will be found ; it may be to-morrow see you, it may be twenty 
years after; it may be when he is a babe at breast, it may be 
when he is an old stump like me. Well, that is God's way ! 
You cannot live longer by staying at home if it is God's will 
that you should die." 

" That is quite true, Uncle Ewen," said the widow, but 



DERVAL HARANGUES THE CONSCRIPTS. 105 

The Corporal waved his hand with a grim smile. 

" Look at me, mother ! Look at thy good man's brother, 
little woman ! I have been a soldier — I have seen it all —I 
have dined on thunder and gunpowder, I — and yet I live. 
Corbleu 1 I live, and but for this accursed leg of a tree, as 
sound as any man. Have I not followed the Little Corporal to 
Egypt, to Italy, and across the Alps ? Was not that red work, 
little mother ? I knew him General at Cismone, boys, and 
I lived to see him crowned Emperor of France ! — and a year 
after that I lost my leg ! A leg — bah ! If it had been the 
two legs I should have laughed, since it was for the Emperor. 
But, see you, I did not die — I live to tell you all this. I have 
had bullets round me like rain, but I was never struck. 
Why, little mother ? Because every bullet is marked by 
the Hand you know, and not a man falls but it is God's 
will." 

In this strain, talking volubly, sometimes addressing his 
nephews, sometimes turning to his sister-in-law and Marcelle, 
the veteran endeavoured to inspire the household with confi- 
dence and courage. He was to a certain extent successful, 
and even the mother assumed a sort of cheer. 

Previous to that day Uncle Ewen had not been idle. 
Stalking from door to door, wherever he was on friendly 
terms, stumping along in his old uniform with the cross of 
the Legion of Honour upon his breast, his nose in the air as 
if he smelt the battle afar off, his face crimson with enthusi- 
asm, he had canvassed all Kromlaix on behalf of the Em- 
peror. Such enthusiasm is contagious, and the young fisher- 
men began to laugh and swagger as if the Conscription were 
a good joke — at all events, they determined not to show the 
white feather. 

So on this bright morning of the drawing of lots all seemed 
quite festal. 

If a quivering lip or a wet cheek was visible here and there, 
it was soon forgotten in the general display of rustic splen- 
dour — embroidered waistcoats, silk-sewn bodices, bright petti- 
coats, snowy caps, ornaments of coarse silver and gold. 



io6 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

True, many a poor mother had quietly stolen out in the early 
grey of dawn to kneel under the Calvary and say a prayer of 
entreaty to the Blessed One carved in stone in its centre. 
But now grief seemed all forgotten. There was laughing 
and shouting as the groups gathered, and more than one 
man had already been drinking deep. 

Fresh and glorious shone the sea, happy and glad seemed 
the village, with its black boats crowding, like a flock of 
cormorants, on the water's edge. But over all, dominating 
the scene, stood the Menhir — black, forbidding, like the 
imperial Idol looking down upon his creatures. 

Out sallied the Corporal at the head of his four nephews. 

By his side walked Marcelle, very pale, but dressed in 
colours bright as May, with a coif like snow, its lappets 
reaching to her waist, and her feet clad in pretty shoes with 
buckles. Then came a strain of wild music ; for Jannick 
carried his biniou — or bagpipe— tricked out with long 
streamers of a dozen colours, and Alain was blowing into 
his tin whistle. 

" Forward ! " cried Uncle Ewen. 

There was a cheer in the street, and the party was soon 
joined by many young men, friends of the " Maccabees.'' 
Among them came a thin, sinister-looking young fisherman, 
whom the Corporal greeted by name. 

" Good morrow, Mikel Grallon ! " 

Mikel answered quietly, and joined the party, thrusting 
himself as close as possible to Marcelle, who noticed his 
approach with courteous indifference. Her thoughts were 
elsewhere. She was looking up and down the street for one 
tall figure ; but it was not there. 

The Corporal, too, was on the qui vive. 

" He is late," he muttered. " Pest on him, to lie a-bed on 
■such a day as this!" 

"For whom are you looking?" asked Mikel Grallon, as 
they all paused close to the old cabaret, which was dis- 
tinguished by the bunch of withered mistletoe hung over the 
door. 



DERVAL HARANGUES THE CONSCRIPTS.- 107 

" For another sheep of my flock," returned Uncle Ewen. 
" His name is down in the list, yet he delays." 

Grallon smiled significantly. 

" If you mean Rohan Gwenfern, I fear he will not come. 
I met him yesternight, and he told me he should be too 
busy to go — that thou or another might draw in his 
name." 

The Corporal stood aghast. The very announcement 
seemed blasphemous. " Too busy " to obey the summons 
of the Emperor ! " Too busy " to perform his duty like a 
man on that day of all days ! Soul of a crow ! it was 
stupefying. 

But the Corporal shook his head, and would not believe it. 

" By the bones of the blessed St. Gildas ! " he cried, 
naming again the patron saint often invoked by his brother's 
wife, " it is unheard of— it is not true, Mikel Grallon. If 
Rohan said that, he was mocking at thee. I see it plain, 
boys ! The rascal has stolen a march upon us and hurried 
on to the town to be first among the fun. Forward ! we 
shall find him there." 

Alain and Jannick played loudly, and the whole part} 
turned again up the street. Marcelle said nothing then, but 
she remembered that, some few nights before, Rohan had 
hinted that he might be absent. " But if I am," he added, 
" let thou or our uncle draw lor me in my name ; it matters 
little, for the luck will be the same ; and if the lot is against 
me, I shall be as content as if I had drawn myself." He 
had said this in the twilight, and his voice was firm ; and, 
fortunately or unfortunately, she had not seen the terrible 
expression on his face. 

As they left the village and hastened along the road they 
found themselves with many other groups going the same 
way — women young and old, aged men, young fishermen, 
and even little boys and girls. As they passed the church 
and Calvary, Alain and Jannick ceased to play, the Corporal 
took off his hat, and Marcelle and her brothers knelt down 
for a moment. 



io8 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The little cure was standing at the church door, with his 
vicaire (or curate), a spectral young man fresh from college. 
Father Rolland stretched out his plump hands in blessing, 
and they hurried on. 

The town of St. Gurlott lay a good twelve English miles 
away, in the middle of a fertile valley, but the road to it was 
through a waste country of heather and enormous granite 
rocks, most dreary to the eye. It was an old cart-road well 
worn in between banks of heather and thyme, amid which 
glimmered the little yellow stars of tormentil. If one lark 
sang in the hot blue air all around them, there sang a 
thousand 1 



CHAPTER XIII. 




THE DRAWING OF LOTS. " ONE ! " 

■ ESPITE his wooden leg, Uncle Ewen pegged 
forward gallantly, but after a few miles he was 
glad enough to take a seat in a rude cart which 
was jogging along, full of brightly dressed girls, 
and drawn by two little fat oxen. Marcelle, 
too, found a seat, while the musicians Alain and Jannick, 
with Hoel, Gildas, and the rest, followed behind. It was 
very merry indeed ! 

Everywhere along the road Marcelle looked for her lover, 
but he was nowhere to be seen — nor, indeed, the maiden 
thought to herself, any man fit to be his peer. 

They had travelled along drowsily for some miles more, 
and were not far from the town — which was now visible in 
the sunlight before them — when Marcelle beheld old Mother 
Goron clinging to the arm of her son — a powerful-looking 
youth very plainly attired. As they came up, he begged a 
seat in the cart for his mother, who seemed spent with 
fatigue ; but as they lifted her up, not ungently, she fainted 
away. 

When she recovered she did not speak a word, but sat 
staring like one in a dream. She was very weak and feeble, 
and the mental anxiety and bodily fatigue had been too much 
for her. Her son walked close by the cart's side, for she 
still held his hand firmly, and would not let it go. 



uc THE SHADOlV OF THE SWORD. 

At last they crossed a rude bridge of wood and entered 
the district town. 

It was the quaintest of little old towns, with odd little 
houses of granite opening on the narrow streets, and old- 
fashioned churches everywhere. Every street was crowded, 
and every church was full. In the market-place, which they 
soon reached, carts stood full of fresh arrivals, wooden stalls 
were erected for the sale of refreshment, crowds of men and 
women were jostling together, and all sorts of scenes were 
being enacted — from the wailing group surrounding some 
poor woman whose son had drawn a fatal number, down to 
the laughing skirmish of boisterous farm girls with their 
rude admirers. 

In the corner of the square stood a miserable stone build- 
ing, in front of which strutted the military officials, in their 
ridiculous fine plumage. This was the Town Hall, within 
which the drawing had already commenced. 

It must be admitted that few signs of discontentment or 
grief appeared on the surface. Everything had been done 
to impart to the affair the appearance of a gala. Flags were 
hung out from many of the house-roofs, music was heard on 
all sides, and everywhere old soldiers and agents of the 
Government were circulating among the peasantry, treating, 
chatting, telling stories of the glory of the Empire. Many 
of the young men who were to take their chance that day 
were hopelessly intoxicated ; a wrestling match had begun 
here and there, and blows were given and taken. Of all the 
faces gathered there, only those of the elder women seemed 
utterly despairing. 

Alighting from his cart and heading his little procession; 
Uncle Ewen soon made his way to the Town Hall. Marcelle 
clung to his arm nervously, and still looked on every side for 
Rohan. 

Corporal Derval was well known, and way was soon 
made for him. The officials, always instructed to treat dis- 
abled veterans of the Empire with respect, greeted him 
familiarly, and smiled at his attendant band. If his influence 



THE DRA WING OF LOTS. " ONE /" in 

had failed, Marcelle's pretty face would have conquered — 
for a pretty maid is always a power, and most of all to the 
heart of a military Jean Crapaud. 

" Uncle," she whispered, as she crossed the threshold under 
the admiring gaze of the " cocked hats," " uncle, Rohan is 
not here." 

" Malediction ! " cried the old Corporal. " But perhaps 
he is within ! " 

As he entered the sacred precincts he took off his hat. 
Squeezing his way, and drawing Marcelle behind him he was 
soon in the body of the hall. 

It looked very grand and imposing. 

At the upper end of the hall, before a large table on which 
stood the fatal ballot-box, 1 sat the mayor — a grim consequen- 
tial little man — with the other magnates of the town, and an 
officer of the line. The mayor had a military look, and 
wore a blue scarf decorated with several orders. Behind 
him stood a file of gendarmes, all attention. At one end of 
the table sat a clerk with a large open book, ready to register 
against each name as it occurred the numbers as they were 
drawn ; and at the other end stood bareheaded a grizzly 
sergeant of the Grand Army, ready to read the number aloud 
for the edification of the public. 

Each village or hamlet came separately in alphabetical 
order. As the name of each was proclaimed aloud, those 
men of the village whose names were on the list came for- 
ward personally or by deputy and drew. 

After this drawing, there was still one solitary chance of 
escape. A week or so later would come the medical ex- 
amination, when those conscripts who were disqualified 
would be exchanged for those whose names came next by 
number. When the total number from each district had 
been selected, the Conscription would be over, and the con- 
scripts would march. 

Now, the number of men demanded from each hamlet 

1 In many parts of Brittany the ballot was more primitive, and the 
tickets were enclosed in a simple hat. 



H2 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

was fixed ; so each that came to draw knew the odds against 
him. From Kromlaix the Emperor demanded five and 
twenty conscripts, and therefore he who drew any number 
up to five and twenty was chosen, while those who drew 
above that number were free, always providing the whole 
five and twenty were pronounced " fit for service." 

The men of Kromlaix had not long to wait before their 
turn came. The neighbouring hamlet of Gochloan was 
being disposed of, and as each name was read, sad or glad 
comments came from the audience. Uncle Ewen surveyed 
the men critically as they came up one by one, while 
Marcelle still looked everywhere for Rohan Gwenferh. 

At last the officer at the table called out — 

" Kromlaix." 

The men of Kromlaix crowded up towards the table, 
while the sergeant rapidly read over the names, including 
those of Marcelle's brothers, Mikel Grallon, Jan Goron, and 
Rohan Gwenfern, among a long list of others. 

The crowd near the Corporal trembled, and those whose 
names took alphabetical precedence were shuffled to the 
front. But the old Corporal kept his ground, and stood, 
with Marcelle beside him and his nephews close behind 
him, in the very front row. 

Now, as we have said, Uncle Ewen was a well-known 
character, and so the sergeant whispered to the officer, and 
the officer to the maire, and then all three smiled. 

" Good-day, Corporal ! " said the maire nodding. 

He knew his cue well, and he was not the man to over- 
look or snub one of Napoleon's veterans. 

The Corporal saluted, and reddened with pride as he 
looked round on his party. 

"You are welcome," said the maire again, " and I see you 
bring us an old soldier's best gift — a nosegay of brave lads 
for the Emperor. But who is that pretty girl at your side ? 
Surely she is not upon the lists ? " 

At this all laughed, and Marcelle blushed, while the 
Corporal explained — 



THL DRA WING OF LOTS. ' ' ONE !" 1 1 3 

" She is my niece, m'sieu, and these are her brothers, whose 
names are down." 

The magnate nodded, and the business proceeded. Name 
after name was called out, and number after number read 
aloud, while each man came back from the table and 
rejoined his friends. Many came back quite merry, and, 
strange to say, some of those who had drawn fatal numbers 
— those under twenty-five — laughed loudest, from sheer 
indifference or simple despair. 

" Alain Derval ! " 

Forward stepped Alain, having handed over his whistle to 
Jannick. He saluted the authorities, and thrust his hand 
rapidly into the ballot-box, while Uncle Ewen, watching 
intently, drew himself up to his full height, and set himself 
still firmer upon his legs. 

Alain drew out his paper, read it rapidly, and without 
moving a muscle of his countenance, handed it to the 
Sergeant. 

" Alain Derval — one hundred and seventy-three ! ; ' 

Alain came back with real or assumed disappointment on 
his face. 

"Just my luck," he whispered to Marceue ; W I would 
rather have been drawn ! " 

" Gildas Derval ! " 

The gigantic twin of that name stepped forward, while 
those at the table surveyed his proportions with admiration. 

" What a man ! " whispered the maire to his neighbour. 

The veteran watched with a grim smile, while Gildas 
phlegmatically drew his number, and read it quietly. Having 
read it, he scowled, and did not seem well pleased ; but he 
shrugged his shoulders as he handed it to the Sergeant. 

" Gildas Derval — sixteen J " » 

" Vive V Empereur /" said the Corporal, while Marcelle 
uttered a little cry. Gildas came slouching back, and when 
the Corporal shook him by the hand evinced little en- 
thusiasm. " But I don't care," he said, " if they draw HoeJ 
also ! " 



H4 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Hoel Derval ! " 

The second twin strode out, and, as if eager to know his 
fate, dipped quickly into the box. 

A moment afterwards the Sergeant cried — 

"Hoel Derval — twenty-seven !" 

The Corporal started, Marcelle drew a deep breath. Hoel 
himself looked dumfounded. Twenty-seven was all very 
well if the whole previous twenty-five passed the medical 
inspection ; but that was scarcely possible. So Hoel came 
back and joined Gildas, with a nervous grin. 

There was a slight pause here, the clerks writing busily 
in their books; and Marcelle whispered eagerly to her 
uncle — 

" Uncle Ewen ! — it is very strange, but Rohan is not here. 
What is to be done ? He will' be blamed, and perhaps 
punished." 

The Corporal paused. 

" There is but one way ! — I will draw for him ! " 

Marcelle looked down for a moment, then said quickly, 

" No, let me! He made me promise to do so if he did not 

come." 

" Corbleu ! " cried the Corporal. " But they will laugh 
» 

" Hush ! " said Marcelle. 

Business was brisk again, and the Sergeant read out 
loudly — 

" Jannick Goron ! " 

Goron stepped forward from the crowd, while his infirm 
mother, white as death, was held forcibly but kindly back. 
He was very pale, and his hand trembled ever so slightly. 
He drew forth his paper, and without opening it, was about, 
in his nervousness, to hand it to the Sergeant. 

" Read it first ! " the Sergeant said. 

The man, with one pathetic glance at his mother, opened 
it, and read in a low voice : 

" Two hundred ! " 

u Jan Goron — two hundred!" said the stentorian tones. 



THE DRA WING OF LOTS. " ONE /" 115 

Through a blinding mist of joyful tears Goron strode back 
to his mother, who had fainted away at the good news. 
Not a soul there begrudged the loving and dutiful son his 
good luck. 

"Mikel Grallon!" 

The fisherman came forward nervously, cap in hand. He 
was very white, and his little fox's eyes twinkled with dread. 
He bowed somewhat servilely to the authorities, and stood 
hesitating. 

" Draw, my man ! " 

Grallon had drawn before, and had always been lucky ; 
but this did not lessen his present alarm. 

" Mikel Grallon — ninety-nine ! " 

Grallon slipped back to the crowd, and looked delightedly 
at Marcelle, as if seeking her sympathy in his good fortune. 
But Marcelle was deathly pale, and with her eyes fixed in- 
tently on the box, was praying to herself. 

There was another pause ; then, loud uid distinct, the 
name — 

" Rohan Gwenfern ! " 

No one stirred. The Corporal looked at his niece, she at 
him. 

" Rohan Gwenfern ! " repeated the voice. 

"Where is the man?" asked the maire, pausing and 
frowning. 

The Corporal stepped forward with Marcelle. 

" My nephew is not here, m'sieu : he is indisposed ; but 
either I or my niece will draw in his name." 

" What sayest thou, little one ? " said the maire. " His 
sweetheart, perhaps ? " 

" I am his cousin," said Marcelle simply. 

" And cousin in good French, little one, means often 
sweetheart too ! Well, thou shalt draw for him, and bring 
him luck!" 

All the grim officials looked on graciously as Marcelle put 
her pretty hand into the box. She let it stay there so long 
that the officers smiled. She was still praying. 



u6 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Come ! " said the officer, stroking his moustache and 
nodding encouragingly. 

She drew forth a paper, and handed it to the Corporal, 
who opened it, read it with a stare, and uttered his usual 
oath. 

"Read, Corporal !" said the officer, while Marcelle looked 
wildly at her uncle. 

" It is incredible ! " cried Uncle Ewen, with another 
astonished stare. " One / " 

He handed the paper over. 

"Rohan Gwenfern — one!" shouted the Sergeant, 
while Marcelle clung to her uncle and hid her face upon his 
arm, 



CHAPTER XIV. 



A DAY AT SEA. 




'AD the Corporal and his party, as they paused 
in the centre of Kromlaix on their way to St. 
Gurlott, turned their eyes oceanward and 
carefully searched the water, they might have 
perceived far out to sea a black speck, now 
visible, now hidden in the deep trough of the waves. This 
black speck was a boat — a small fishing-boat with a red lug- 
sail, which, with the peak set, and the rudder fastened to 
leeward, rocked to and fro softly, now " lying-to " admirably, 
again falling off and running along with the calm breath of 
the morning breeze. 

In the stern sat a man, restless-eyed yet plunged in 
thought ; sometimes looking eagerly towards the shore, 
where the cold morning light glimmered along the crags and 
on the sparkling roofs of the village ; at others turning his 
gaze wistfully seaward, where far away on the dim horizon 
line some white-sailed argosy of England might be dimly 
seen creeping along to the west. 

Rohan Gwenfern had risen before light, and launching the 
little craft, had urged it, with sail and oar, out to sea, until, 
at a distance of several miles from land, with the water 
surrounding him on every side, he could breath freely and 
feel comparatively secure. Rocking thus, he saw the village 
awaken — marked the grey smoke gradually arise to heaven 

I 



"8 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

— saw bright movements here and there as of folk astir— 
and caught faintly the sound of music, mingled with far-ofi 
inland cries. He had seen such a picture often, but never 
with such emotions as this day ; he had watched before with 
a sweet indifference, but now he gazed with a sickening 
fascination. 

His hair was wild around a face pale with many sleepless 
nights ; his eyes bloodshot, his brows contracted ; but 
nothing could destroy or even mar the superb beauty of the 
man. The broad dreamy brow, the brooding eyes, the firm 
yet mobile smile, were all there, preserving the leonine like- 
ness. There was no ferocity in his look, but something 
even more dangerous — the strength of an unconquerable 
will. 

Yet the man shivered as if with fear, and looked all round 
him as if expecting to see some unearthly pursuer up- 
spring from the waves ; and laughed to himself, some- 
times almost hysterically ; and wore such a weary, wait- 
ing, listening, expectant look, as poor hunted beasts wear 
when they catch from far away the murmur of voices and the 
sound of coming feet. 

Well, he had thought it all over, again and yet again, and 
the more he had thought, the more his soul had arisen in 
determination and in dread. He knew his name was at last 
on the lists of the Conscription ; that the fatal day had broken, 
and that before night he would hear his doom ; and he knew 
also that his part was chosen — if the worst happened, as he 
feared, resistance to the death. 

He felt with what a power he would be contending. That 
his country, his fellow-villagers, his own relations, even, 
perhaps, Marcelle, would be against him ; but this did not 
shake his resolve in the least. He would not serve the Monster 
of his abhorrence : he would rather die. 

It would be most tedious and difficult to describe the long 
series of thougl ts and emotions which had awakened in 
Rohan Gwenfertf's heart his horror and dread of public War ; 
we can do no more than glance again rapidly at the history 



A DAY AT SEA. 119 

of his mind. To begin with, he was a man whose life had 
been very solitary, and in whom solitude, instead of develop- 
ing morbid introspections, had strengthened the natural in- 
stincts of pity and affection. Combined with his extraor- 
dinary enjoyment of physical freedom, he possessed a unique 
sympathy with an attraction for things which were free like 
himself. He hated bloodshed in any form, and his daily 
creed was peace — peace to the good God overhead, to man 
and woman, to the gentle birds that build their nests in 
the crags, to the black seals that came near to him in the 
caves and looked at him with human eyes. His immense 
physical strength had never been exerted for any evil, and 
even at the inland wrestling matches — whither he had some- 
times gone with his gigantic cousins — he had never fought 
brutally or cruelly. That he rejoiced in his strength is un- 
questionable ; but he had the affections of a man, as well as 
the magnanimity of powerful animals. 

Courage of a certain sort he did not lack ; that we have 
shown already. He had no equal in daring among the cliffs 
or upon the sea ; and his constant explorations, which made 
him familiar with every secret of that craggy coast, showed 
even a more adventurous spirit. Yet, the fact is not to be 
denied, the mere dread of being drawn for the Conscription 
paralyzed him with. /ear — filled his heart with the sick horror 
cowards feel — seemed to touch the inmost springs of his en- 
ormous strength, and make him tremble to the very soul. 

Prejudices, passions, and affections such as Rohan Gwen- 
fern felt do not grow naturally in a peasant's breast. Fine 
as the man was by nature, he would never have felt the 
subtleties of either love or terror, the ecstasies of either 
freedom or fear, if he had never known Master Arfoll. 

Fresh from the teachings of the poor distracted cure, 
Father Rolland's predecessor, Rohan had encountered this 
other instructor, this peripatetic of the fields and crags. Many 
a strange lesson had he received secretly while sitting under 
some lonely dolmen, or in some bright nook on the shore. He 
had heard the low cadences of the Psalms mingled with strange 



120 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

tales of the Time of Terror, and had followed in his mind, 
perhaps during the same hour, the mystery of the birth of 
Jesus and the horror of the death of Marat. 

It was thus that Master Arfoll sowed his seeds. 

For the most part they fell on barren soil — on soulless 
natures that could not comprehend. Sometimes, and 
notably in this instance, they bore fruit that astonished the 
sower ; for soon Rohan's abomination of tyranny and blood- 
shed equalled that of Arfoll himself, and in the end his 
horror of the Napoleonic Phantom became as deep as that 
of any living man. 

And the more that Rohan's thoughts grew, the more food 
they received. As in a glass darkly, he got bloody glimpses 
of the history of society : — he saw the white luminous feet of 
a Redeemer passing over the waters of a world yet unre- 
deemed ; he heard the terrible persiflage of Voltaire and 
the emotional Deism of Rousseau, translated for him by his 
teacher into pleasant Brezonec ; he was taught to compre- 
hend the sins of Kings and the righteousness of Revolutions ; 
he learned to loathe Robespierre and to love Lafayette. This 
influence from the world without deepened instead of lessen- 
ing his enthusiasm of physical freedom. Suspended from 
the highest Kromlaix crag, swimming in the darkest under- 
cavern where the seals breed, rocking on the waters, he en- 
joyed his liberty the more because he learned that it was 
unique. He pictured himself vistas of enslaved generations 
led by mad and cruel leaders to misery and death, and he 
thanked the good God who made him a widow's only son. 

Slowly, year by year, under Master Arfoll's occasional in- 
structions, he became conscious that Humanity, in the 
failure of the French Revolution, had lost the mightier of its 
chances ; that instead of the holy Goddess Freedom, a 
mighty Force was dominating France and all the world. 
With his own eyes, year by year, he had seen the Angel of 
the Conscription parsing over Kromlaix and marking the 
doors with blood for a sign ; with his own ears, year after 
year, he had heafd the widows wail and the children weep ; 



A DAY AT SEA. 121 

with his own soul and his own reason, still more strongly as 
every year advanced, he had appraised the ruling Force as 
the Abominable, and had prayed, while yet rejoicing in his 
strength and freedom, for the martyrs of the Consulate and 
Empire. 
And now perhaps his turn had come ! 

What mighty, what loving arms are those of the great calm 
sea ! What a soft beating is this of its solemn heart, as it 
lifts us in its arms and rocks us on its breast ! The stormy 
spirit of Rohan grew hushed, as he rose and fell in the still- 
ness of the morning light. 

The freedom of the waters was with him, and he breathed 
now securely. As a floating seagull, now hidden, now visible, 
the boat rose and fell on the great smooth waves. 

He heard the tinkling of the chapel bell, he saw the village 
astir, he caught the hum of music. Then all was still. 

As the hours rolled on, the sea-breeze rose a little, and he 
let the boat run close to the wind. His eye sparkled and his 
sense of freedom increased. He almost forgot his fear in the 
delight of the rapid motion. 

Midday came, and still he was upon the water. By this 
time he had reached a great patch of glassy calm, covered 
with black masses of guillemots and shearwaters, over which 
the great gulls sailed and the small terns hovered and 
screamed. As the boat crept in among them, no bird was 
disturbed ; he might almost have reached them with his 
hand. He leant over the boat's side, and suddenly, like a 
lightning flash, he saw the innumerable legions of the her- 
ring pass, followed closely by the dark shadows of the 
predatory fishes, from the lesser dog-fish to the non-tropical 
shark. There was a tremor and a trouble of life all below 
him ; above him and around him, the tremor and trouble too. 

As he hung over and gazed, sick fancies possessed him. In 
the numberless creatures of the ocean he seemed to see the 
passing of great armies, pursued by mighty legions mad with 
blood. The mystery and the horror of the Deep troubled him, 



122 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

and he threw up his face to the sunlight. And the pre- 
datory birds were killing and feeding, the porpoises were 
rolling over and over in slow pursuit of food, and half a mile 
off, a bottle-nosed whale rose, spouted, and sunk. 

Before now, it had all appeared most beautiful and 
pleasant ; now it seemed very cruel and dreadful. He was 
face to face with the law of life, that one thing should prey 
upon another ; and here, in the deepness of his own personal 
dread, he realized almost for the first time the quiet cruelty 
of Nature. 

Calmer thoughts ensued. After all, he might not be 
drawn, though the chances were against him, and the Con- 
scription, he knew, had a mysterious knack of picking out 
the strongest men. God might be good, and spare him yet. 
Then he went over in his mind the names of fellow-villagers 
who, like Mikel Grallon, had escaped again and again, 
though their names had been repeatedly upon the lists. He 
was yet perhaps too free, and had been so recently too 
happy, to feel as acutely as Master Arfoll the pangs of 
others. His emotion was just now that of a strong 
animal surrounded, rather than that of a beneficent man 
feeling for his fellows. It did not even occur to him that his 
escape would be another man's doom ; these were subtleties 
of sympathy he had yet to learn in sorrow. It was a day of 
anguish and horrible uncertainty. If he knew his fate he 
would be prepared, but he could not know it yet. He must 
wait and wait. 

He had been accustomed to go for long days without food, 
and this day he neither ate nor drank. All his hunger and 
thirst were in his eyes, watching the land. And lo ! as 
chief cynosure in the prospect, he saw the black Menhir, 
like some fatal and imperial form, towering over Kromlaix, 
and warning him away from home. 

The day declined. A land breeze rose again, and he beat 
for a mile against it, towards the shore ; and now the sun 
had declined so far that the purple shadow of the boat ran 
beside him on the sea, and Kromlaix was glistening in the 



A DAY AT SEA. 123 

rays of the afternoon sun, and he could see the stone Christ 
standing piteous, high up on the hill. 

Suddenly he started and listened, like a wild beast afraid. 
Then he stood up in the boat and gazed eagerly up the hill, 
where the sunlight illumined the old church and the white 
road at its gate. He was alone : not another boat was upon 
the water but his own. The whole village seemed deserted 
and still. From inland, however, he had caught the sound 
of music and of human voices. 

Yes, they were now quite audible : they were returning ; 
his fate was known. He shuddered and shivered. The 
sounds came nearer and nearer ; he recognised the pipe of 
the biniou and the voices of men singing the national song. 

He waited and waited, listening and watching, until he 
saw the crowd coming over the hill : conscripts marching 
about half-mad with wine, fishermen and villagers shouting, 
girls in bright-coloured raiment running and laughing, the 
biniou playing, many singing. Over the hill they came, and 
up to the church gate, and the little cure came out and 
blessed them, asking the news meanwhile. Rohan could 
see it all. He could recognise the cure's black figure among 
the crowd. 

Then they came flying downhill. 

His first impulse had been to land and meet them. 
Strange to say, eager as he had been all day to know the 
day's proceedings — whether his name had been drawn at all 
in his absence, if so, who had drawn in his name, and 
whether his number was lucky or fatal — eager as he had 
been to know all this, he now shuddered to hear it. The 
closer the crowd came, the louder the noise grew, the more 
his heart sickened within him. He saw the children and old 
women coming out to the house doors, he heard the little 
village gradually growing busy, he watched the crowd from 
the town as they marched down nearer and nearer, he heard 
the murmur of many voices. 

Then, instead of hastening to land, he turned his boat's 
head round, and ran, with a free sheet, out again to sea. 



124 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Night had quite fallen, and the lights of Kroinlaix were 
twinkling like stars on the water's edge, when Rohan Gwen- 
fern ran his boat into the little creek below his mother's 
house. 

All wad still here, though a confused murmur came from 
the village. 

He drew the boat up the shingle by means of a wooden 
windlass and a rope, placed there for the purpose, and put it 
safely above high-water mark. Then, still keeping in the 
shadow of the crags, he approached the door of his home. 

As he came nearer, a sound of voices fell upon his ears. 
He stopped, listening, and while doing so, he became con- 
scious of dark figures congregated round the door. He 
hesitated for a moment ; then summoning up all his resolu- 
tion, strode on. 

In another minute he found himself surrounded by an 
eager crowd, and as the light from the door fell upon his 
face, all uttered a shout. 

" Here he is at last ! " cried a voice, which he recognised 
as that of Mikel Grallon. 

Then another, that of Gildas Derval, cried in stentorian 
tones : 

" Vive V Empereur ! — and three cheers for number 
ONE ! " 




CHAPTER XV. 

" THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS." 

HILE the shouts still rang in his ears and the 
binioit began to play up outside, Rohan pushed 
his way into the cottage. The moment he 
crossed the threshold he saw the kitchen was 
full of men and women, in the midst of whom, 
with his back to the fire, stood Corporal Derval declaiming. 
On a form close to the fire, with her face covered with her 
apron and her body rocking to and fro in agony, sat the 
mother, weeping silently ; and round her gathered, some 
crouching at her feet, others bending over her and talking 
volubly, several sympathizing women. 

The scene explained itself in one flash, and Rohan 
Gwenfern knew his fate ; but pale as death, he strode across 
the floor to his mother's side. 

As he .vent he was greeted with cries articulate and inarticu- 
late. The Corporal ceased declaiming, the mother threw the 
apron off her face and reached out quivering hands to her son. 
" Rohan ! Rohan ! " 

Scarcely looking at his mother, Rohan sternly addressed 
the others. 

" What is the matter ? What brings you all here ? " 
Many tongues answered him, but in the coufusion few 
were intelligible. 

" Silence ! " cried the Corporal, frowning fiercely. 



126 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Silence all ! Listen, Rohan ! I will tell thee all that has 
taken place. Malediction ! these women — they make one 
deaf ! They say I bring thee bad news ; but that is false, 
as I tell them. Thy name has been drawn, and thou art to 
serve the Emperor — that is all ! " 

" No, no ! " cried Mother Gwenfern — "he cannot go ! If 
he goes I shall die ! " 

"Nonsense, mother!" said the Corporal. "Thou wilt 
live and see him come back covered with glory. Ha, ha, 
boy, thou wilt make a grenadier ; the Emperor loves the tall 
fellows, and thou wilt soon be corporal. Shake hands with 
thy cousin Gildas. He is drawn too." 

Gildas, who had entered by this time, approached, holding 
out his hand with a feeble hiccup. It was clear that he had 
been drinking deep, for his eyes were glazed and his legs 
most unsteady. 

Without noticing the outstretched hand, Rohan glared all 
round. 

" Is this true ? " he panted. " Tell me — some one who is 
sober ! " 

The Corporal scowled. Jan Goron came forward quietly 
and put his hand on Rohan's shoulder. They were old 
friends and companions. 

" It is all over, as they say. God has been good to me 
and my mother, but thou art drawn." 

There was a general murmur of condolence from the old 
women, and a wail from Mother Gwenfern. Like one dazed, 
stupefied now his fate had come, Rohan stood silent. 
Several men nocked round him, some sympathetically, 
others with jests and laughter. Just then Jannick Derval 
gave a comic scream with his bagpipes, and there was 
a loud roar of merriment, in which even the conscripts 
joined. 

" Hands away ! " cried Rohan fiercely, thrusting out his 
arms, and adding, while the men shrank back before him, 
" It is false ! you are doing this to make a jest of me ' 
How can I be drawn ? I was not there ! '' 



" THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS* 127 

The Corporal, who, like the rest, had imbibed a little, 
replied, with a wink at the conscripts — 

" Oh yes, that is all very well, but the Emperor is not to 
be done in that way, mo?i gars. More shame for one to be 
skulking in a corner when he should be standing forth like a 
man ! Thank thy good fortune that thou hadst a brave 
uncle there to represent thee and explain thy absence. It is 
all right ! Vive V Empereur ! " 

Rohan quivered through all his powerful frame. 

" It is the will of God," said an old woman aside. 

" Thou hast drawn in my name ! " cried Rohan. 

Uncle Ewen nodded, but proceeded to explain. 

" Thou wast not there, mon garz. Thy duty called thee, 
but thou wast elsewhere. Well, I would have drawn for 
thee, but my pretty Marcelle was by, and she craved so to 
draw, saying thou hadst bidden her do so if thou wast away. 
Corblen ! how they smiled when the little one came forward 
and put her hand into the great box. She groped about for 
a long time — like this ! — and I thought to myself ' Parbleu ! 
she is feeling about for the lucky number.' ' Courage 1 ' cried 
m'stett le maire, and she drew it out ! " 

" Marcelle ? " 

" Have I not said so, mon garz / Ah, she is a brave little 
one, and brings luck both to thee and to the Emperor. Thou 
shouldst be proud ! Thou art at the head of all in Krom- 
laix ! Thou art King of the Conscripts — and all through 
thelittle hand that drew for thee and pulled out 'number one' !" 

" Rohan Gwenfern — number one / " roared Gildas, mimick- 
ing the tones of the Sergeant of the lists. There was a 
laugh, and Jannick again performed his ridiculous squeak 
on the biniou. 

The drink had circulated freely, and the conscripts, what- 
ever their secret feelings might be, were publicly uproarious. 
Gathering round the door, and flocking into the room, they 
loudly called on Rohan to join them, Gildas most vehemently 
of all. But there was no real joy or enthusiasm there. No 
woman smiled, and many wept bitterly. 



128 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Suddenly the cries without increased, and into the house 
flocked a troop of young girls singing the national hymn. 
At their head Marcelle. 

Pale with excitement, with one hectic spot burning on 
either cheek, she entered the chamber ; then, seeing Rohan, 
she paused suddenly, and looked at him with questioning 
eyes. 

He had not stirred or spoken from that moment when he 
had uttered Marcelle's name ; he had heard the Corporal 
declaim, and the conscripts cry, in a horrid stupefaction. 
Now, when Marcelle entered, he only turned his eyes rapidly 
towards her, then averted them, and grew more deadly pale. 

A hard struggle had gone on in the heart of the girl. 
When first she had drawn the fatal number she had been 
horrified and stupefied. Then she had reasoned with herself, 
and her adoration for the Emperor had risen up in her 
heart, until, carried away by her uncle's enthusiasm, she 
forgot her self-reproach, and determined to act an heroic 
part in all the scenes which were to follow. 

Few of the conscripts had taken their ill luck personally 
to heart, and she did not calculate for any extraordinary 
resistance on the part of Rohan. True, she had often heard 
him express his loathing of warfare and of the Conscription ; 
but then, so had the other men of Kromlaix ; and yet, when 
the hour came and they were called, they made merry and 
went. 

" Look, Rohan,'' she cried, holding up in her hand a 
rosette with a long coloured streamer. " Look ! I have 
brought it for thee / " 

Every one of the conscripts wore a similar badge, and the 
old Corporal, to complete the picture, had stuck one upon 
his own breast. All cheered as Marcelle advanced. 

Rohan looked up wildly. 

'' Keep back ! Do not touch me ! " he cried with out- 
stretched arm. 

" Hear him ! " derisively called Mikel Grallon. 

" The boy is mad ! " cried the Corporal. 



" THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS. I2g 

" Rohan, do you not understand?" cried Marcelle, terri- 
fied by her lover's look. " I drew for thee as I was bidden, 
and though I did not wish thee to go, God has arranged it 
all, and thou wilt serve the good Emperor with Gildas and 
the rest. Thou art not angry, my cousin, that it is so ? I 
had it from thine own lips, and I drew in thy name, and thou 
art King of the Conscripts, and this is thy badge. Let me 
fasten it now upon thy breast ! '' 

From the pocket of her embroidered apron she drew a 
needle and thread and came nearer. He did not stir, but 
his features worked convulsively ; his eyes were still fixed 
upon the ground. In a moment her soft fingers had attached 
the rosette to his jacket. 

Another cheer rose, and the Corporal nodded, as much as 
to say, " That is good ! " 

" And now — forward ! " cried the Corporal. " We will 
drink his health." 

There was a movement towards the door, but suddenly 
Rohan started as if from a trance, and cried — 

" Stay ! * 

All stood listening. Mother Gwenfern crept close and 
gripped his hand. 

" You are all mad, I think, and I seem going mad too. 
What is this you tell me about a Conscription and an 
Emperor ? I do not understand. I only know you are mad, 
and that my uncle there is maddest of all. You say that my 
name is drawn, and that I must go to be killed or to kill ? 
I tell you only God can draw my name, and I will not stir 
one foot, — never, never. Hell seize your Emperor ! Hell 
swallow up him and his Conscription ! I commit him as I 
commit this badge you have given me — to the flame ! " 

Furious to frenzy, he tore the rosette from his breast, and 
cast it into the fire. There was a low murmur, and Mother 
Gwenfern wailed aloud. 

" Hush, mother ! '' he said ; then turning again to the con- 
scripts and to the Corporal, he cried : " Your Emperor can 
kill me, but he cannot compel me to be a soldier. Before 



/3o THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

God, I deny his right to summon me to fight for him, for he 
is a Devil. If every man of France had my heart, he would 
not reign another day, for he would have no army, no sheep 
to lead to the slaughter. Go to your Emperor and do his 
bloody work — I shall remain at home." 

All this time he had not once turned his eyes on Marcelle. 
She now approached him again crying — 

" Rohan ! for God's sake be silent ! These are foolish 
words." 

Still he did not look at her or answer her. Gildas Derval 
broke in with a coarse oath — 

" It seems to me that there is only one word for my cousin 
Rohan. He is tin lache ! " 

Rohan started, but controlling himself, looked quietly at 
the speaker. By this time the old Corporal, who had stood 
perfectly paralysed with amazement and indignation, recov- 
ered his breath. 

" Attention ! " he cried aloud, purple with passion. 
" Gildas is right, and Rohan Gwenfern is a coward, but he 
is something more. He is a choun, and he blasphemes. 
Listen, you who are going to fight like men for your country : 
— this man is a lache, a choun, and he blasphemes. Mother 
Gwenfern, thy son is accurst ! Marcelle, thy cousin is a 
dog! He has spoken words treasonable and damnable — he 
has cursed the holy name of our father the Emperor. And 
yet he lives ! " 

The scene had now grown terrible. Rohan stood erect 
facing his uncle and his other antagonists, but still clasping 
his mother's hand. Mother Gwenfern, poor woman, could 
not bear to hear such words uttered of her son, and she cried 
through her tears — 

" Ewen Derval, you are wicked to speak so of my boy ! " 

" Hush, mother ! " 

The momentary storm was over, and Rohan stood now 
subdued. 

" Attention ! " again cried the Corporal. " We will be 
charitable — perhaps the boy is not well, is under a c/iarm — 



" I HE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS." 131 

we will try to think so, my braves. He may come to-morrow 
and ask forgiveness of the good Emperor, and pray to be 
allowed to join you others who fight for your country. If 
not, mark you, we will come to fetch him ; he shall not dis- 
grace us without a cause. He thinks he is very strong, but 
what is a man's strength against ours, against the Emperor's? 
I tell you we will hunt him down if need be — like a fox, like 
a dog ; and look you, I his uncle will lead you on. . . . Yes, 
Mother Lo'iz, I will lead them on ! . . . With or without his 
will he will join you, remember that ; and if he goes unwill- 
ingly, may the first bullet in his first battle find him out and 
strike the coward down ! " 

Rohan said nothing, but still stood with a ghastly smile 
upon his firm-set face. Words were useless now, since the 
terrible hour had come. There was a dead silence, during 
which the men gazed savagely enough at the revolter. Then 
Marcelle crept up, and stood between Rohan and her uncle. 

" Your words are too hard, Uncle Ewen, and you do not 
understand. Rohan did not mean all he said ; he spoke in 
passion, and then men do not utter their right minds. And 
he is no coward, but a brave man — yes, the bravest here 1 " 

At this there was a general groan. 

" Silence, Marcelle ! " said the Corporal. 

" I will not be silent, for it is my fault, and it is I that 
have brought bad luck to my cousin. Rohan, wilt thou 
forgive me ? I prayed it might not be so, but God has willed 
it — God and His saints, who will watch over you when you 
go to war ! " 

Rohan looked sadly into the girl's face, and when he saw 
the wet eyes, the quivering lips, his heart was stirred. He 
took her hand and kissed it before them all. 

An ill-favoured face was suddenly thrust forward between 
them. 

"It is a pity, is it not," cried Mikel Grallon, "to see 

a pretty girl wasting all her comfort on a coward, when 

>> 

He did not complete the sentence, for Rohan, scarcely 



132 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

stirring his frame, stretched out his hands and smote the 
speaker down. Grallon fell like a log. A wild cry arose 
from all the men, the women screamed, Marcelle shrank 
back aghast, and Rohan strode to the door, pushing his way 
out. 

" Seize him ! hold him ! kill him !" cried many voices. 

" Arrest him ! " cried the corporal. 

But Rohan hurled his opponents right and left like so 
many ninepins. They fell back and gasped. Gildas and 
Hoel rushed forward, their great frames shaking with wrath. 
Rohan turned suddenly and faced them at the door, but in a 
moment they were upon him, hurling themselves forward 
like two huge battering-rams. It was only for a moment 
that Rohan hesitated, remembering that his opponents were 
his cousins and the brothers of Marcelle. Then; with a 
dexterous trick well known in Brittany, he tripped up the 
huge Hoel and grappled with the huge Gildas. Now, 
Gildas was at no time quite a match for Rohan, and just 
now he was half seas over ; so in another moment he lay 
shrieking and cursing by the side of his brother. 

Then Rohan turned his white face rapidly on Marcelle 
and passed unmolested out into the darkness. 

Late that night the little curd, or vicar, sat in the vicarage 
before a snug fire. His room was furnished with an oaken 
table, strawbottomed chairs, and a bed with dark serge 
curtains, and ornamented by rude pictures of saints and a 
black ebony cross on a stand, before which was a low prie- 
dieu. The little cure was reading, not his breviary, but a 
strongly spiced history of the doings of the Church 
previous to the Revolution, when a loud knock came at the 
door. 

Directly afterwards the old serving-woman showed in a 
man, whom Father Rolland recognised at a glance as 
Rohan Gwenfern. 

The moment they were alone, Rohan, who was pale as 
death, approaching the cure and leaning his hand upon the 



" THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS. 133 

table, said in a low, emphatic, yet respectful voice, " Father 
Rolland, I have come to ask your help." 

The priest stared, but closing his book and motioning to 
a chair, said, " Sit down." 

Rohan shook his head, and continued to stand. 

" I have been drawn for the Conscription. My own hand 
did not draw the fatal number, and I might perhaps protest, 
for I was absent at the drawing ; but it would be equal — I 
knew from the first there could be ho escape. The 
Emperor chooses the strong, and I am strong. But my 
mind is made up, Father Rolland ; I shall never go to war ; 
I have thought it over and over, and I will rather die. You 
open your eyes amazed, as if you did not understand. Well, 
understand this — I will not become a soldier. That is 
as certain as death, as unchangeable as the grave." 

Father Rolland had encountered such cases before — many 
a weeping mother and miserable son had come to him for 
advice — but none had spoken like this man. They had 
come in tears and gone in tears, resigned. This man, on 
the contrary, though under dreadful excitement, was tearless, 
proud, almost insolent. He stood erect, and his eye never 
once quailed as it met the priest's. 

Father Rolland raised his shoulders and rubbed his hands 
together. 

"You are drawn? — I am sorry for you, my poor fellow, but 
you will have to submit." 

u There is no exemption ? " 

" None." 

"Although I am my mother's only son?" 

" Ah, that is nothing now. Even the lame and deformed 
are called upon this time. It is hard, but the Emperor must 
have men." 

There was a pause, during which Rohan looked fixedly at 
the priest, to the latter's great discomfort. At last he spoke. 

" Very well, Father Rolland ; — you have heard my decision. 
The Emperor will not spare me, my countrymen will not 
help me. So I have come to you." 

K 



134 THE SHADOW Of THE SWORD. , 

" To me ! " 

u To you. You are a holy man ; you profess to give 
absolution, to prepare the souls of the dying, to represent 
God on earth. I appeal against the Emperor to your God, 
your Christ crucified. I say to Him and to you that war is 
abominable, that the Emperor is a devil, that France is a 
shambles I will keep your God's commandment — that is, I 
will do no murder ; I will not obey the Emperor — that is, I 
refuse to do wickedness because I am tempted by the Devil. 
Your God is a God of Peace ; your Christ died rather than 
raise His hand against His enemies ; you say your God lives, 
your Christ reigns — let Him help me now ! It is for His 
help that I have come." 

It was difficult to tell whether the speaker's manner was 
quite serious or partly ironical ; his tone certainly seemed 
despairingly aggressive. He stood quite still, always deathly 
pale, and his voice did not tremble. Father Rolland was 
staggered. He himself was no particular friend to th.j 
Emperor, but such words seemed dreadful under the circum- 
stances. He answered good-naturedly but firmly, with 
soothing waves of the hand — - 

" My son, you should be on your knees when you come 
asking help from God. To the contrite heart, to the spirit 
that comes in humility and prayer, He grants much — per- 
haps all. It seems to me you are angry. It is not in anger 
that Christ should be sought — hem ! " 

Rohan answered at once, in the same tone. 

" I know that ; I have heard it before. Well, I have 
prayed often, but to-night my knees will not bend. Let me 
ask you, Father Rolland — you who are a good man, with 
a heart for the poor — is it right that these wars should take 
place ? is it right that five hundred thousand men should 
have perished as they did with last year's snow ? is it right 
that the Emperor should now call for nearly four hundred 
thousand more ? That is not all. Are not men brothers ? 
Was not that proved in Paris ? Is it well for brothers to 
murder each other, to torture each other, to wade in each 



" THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS." 135 

other's blood to the ankles ? If all this is right, then, mark 
you, Christ is wrong, and there is no place left in the world 
for your God ! " 

This was terrible. The cure started up violently and cried 
aloud — 

" No blasphemy ! " 

Then, standing before' the fire and putting on a severe 
look, he continued — 

"You do not understand these things. I do not say that 
you have no cause for complaint, but a.s to what you say, 
there has always been war, and it is in the Book of God. 
Men are quarrelsome, look you ; so are nations ; and a 
nation or a man, it is all one. If a man struck you, mongarz, 
would you not strike him again ? And you would be defend- 
ing your rights ? Well, a nation has rights as well as you." 

Rohan smiled strangely. 

" Is that what your Christ says ? Did he not say rather, 
' If a man smite thee on one cheek, hold up to him the 
other'?" 

Th? priest coughed and looked confused ; then he cried — 

" That is the letter, mo?i garz, but we must look to the 
spirit. Ah yes, the spirit is the thing ! Now, we are alone, 
and I will tell you honestly I do not love the Emperor ; he 
has been rough with the Holy Father, and he is not a King 
by Divine Right ; but there he is, and we must obey, all of 
us — the Church as well as you others. I will give another 
quotation, my Rohan. ' Render unto Ccesar the things which 
are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's.' Now, 
this is the way to look at it. Your soul belongs to God, and 
He will watch over it ; but as for your perishable body, it 
belongs in the meantime to — humph ! — well, to Caesar — in 
other words, to the Emperor ! " 

Rohan did not immediately reply, but walked slowly up 
and down the room. 

The little cure, thinking to calm him, said in a low solemn 
voice — 

u Let us pray ! " 



136 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Rohan started. 

" To whom ? " he asked in a hollow voice. 

" To the good God." 

" To whom my soul belongs ? " 

" Ah yes. Amen ! " 

The priest crossed himself and approached the prie-dieu. 

" But not my body ? " 

" Not thy body, which is dust." 

The priest was about to sink upon his knees, when Rohan 
placed his strong hand upon his shoulder. 

" Not to-night, Father Rolland ; I have heard enough ; 
and I know now you cannot help me." 

" How is that, my son ? Come, prayer will soothe your 
troubled spirit, and let you hear the still voice of God." 

" No, I cannot pray ; least of all to Him." 

"What!" 

"Do not be angry, Father Rolland ; I am not to be won 
by fear. You are a good man, but your God is not for this 
world, and it is this world that I love." 

" That is sin." 

" Father, I love my life, and my strength, and the woman 
that is in my heart, and my mother — all these I love ; and 
peace. You call my body dust ; well, it is precious to me ; 
and my soul says, 'Other men, too, feel their bodies precious,' 
and I have sworn never to do any murder at any man's 
bidding. I will defend myself if I can, that is all ; defence 
may be righteous. Good night." 

He was at the door, when Father Rolland, whose humanity 
was large, and who really detested to behold suffering of any 
sort, cried eagerly — 

" Stay ! stay ! my poor fellow, I will assist you if I can." 

" You cannot," replied Rohan ; " nor can your God, Father 
Rolland. He died long ago, and He will never come again ; 
».t is the Emperor who rules the world, not He." 

Before another word could be uttered, Rohan was gone. 
The little curd sank into a chair, and wiped the perspiration 
from his forehead 



•' THE KING OF THE CONSCRIPTS:' 137 

At that very hour, while Father Rolland and Rohan 
Gwenfern were talking together, Marcelle Derval was on her 
knees in the little chamber already described. 

She was alone, the poor weeping mother not having yet 
retired to rest ; and below there was much angry discussion, 
much tippling, much savage denouncement of Rohan Gwen- 
fern. Of course, no one believed that Rohan would seriously 
think of resisting the Conscription ; there was no chance of 
that, for the country was all on the qui vive for deserters, 
and no boats of any size were putting to sea. For all that, 
he was un lache, and the tipsy giant Gildas was loudest of 
all in his denunciations. 

But Marcelle prayed, under the two pictures of Our Lady 
with the Infant and of St. Napoleon. For the soul of her 
dead father, for the old Corporal and her beloved mother, 
for her brothers (and chiefly for poor Gildas, who was drawn) ; 
and lastly, she breathed the name of Rohan Gwenfern. 
" Bless my love for Rohan, O Holy Lady, and bring him 
back to me from the terrible wars, and make him forgive me 
for drawing his name out of the lists, and grant me now thy 
grace, that I may never offend more." 

Then she looked up, as was her nightly custom, at the 
picture of the Emperor. 

"And, O merciful God, for the sake of Jesus thy Son and 
our Holy Mother and all the Saints, preserve the good 
Emperor, for whom my poor Rohan and Gildas, my brother, 
are going to fight ; and give him victory over his enemies, 
and bring him back to us safe, as thou bringest them. 
Amen ! " 

She rose and walked across the room to the window. The 
moon was shining bright, for it was at the full. 

She could see far out on the water the still and vaporous 
light, and on the housetops it was bright, and in the open 
streets ; but the houses cast great shadows. 

Presently something stirred in the shadow of the opposite 
house, and she saw the figure of a man, leaning and looking 
up at her window. 



138 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Love has wonderful sight, and she recognised Rohan 
Gwenfern. 

She crept close to the window and opened it. The moon 
shone on her snowy coif and bodice, as she leant out whisper- 
ing softly — 

" Rohan ! Rohan ! " 

He had answered that call, but this time he did not come. 

He looked up no longer, but moving forward into the open 
moonlight, he passed down the street, without once raising 
his head. 




CHAPTER XVI. 

A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING. 

|N a bright sunny day, about a week after the 
drawing of lots in the town of St. Gurlott, there 
gathered, in a green field twenty miles away, 
a strange group. In the centre sat an elderly 
man, with a book in his hand, reading aloud 
in clear and even tones. Gathered around him, some look- 
ing over his shoulders, others seated on the ground — a few 
indolent and indifferent, most attentive — were eight human 
figures. 
The reader was Master Arfoll ; the rest were his pupils. 
The eldest was a good-humoured but stupid-looking 
peasant of about five and twenty, who wore a broad beaver 
hat and an old-fashioned rusty suit — black jacket, loose black 
breeches, and black gaiters. He sat with his mouth and eyes 
wide open, a model of stupidity and curiosity. Next to him 
was a slender youth of eighteen, with close-shaven hair, like 
a kloarek or religious student ; but he too was a farm 
labourer, or farmer's son. Next to him, two plump stolid girls 
of fourteen, with bright skirts, enormous coifs, and sabots. 
Then two clumsy and ill-favoured bays. And finally, looking 
over Master Arfoll's shoulders, a little boy and a little 
girl of six — the most comical little figures imaginable ; 
the boy clad exactly like the adult peasant — in a black 
suit, tiny sabots, and a broad-brimmed hat ; the girl with an 



140 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

enormous coif, the broad ends of which reached to her waist, a 
black bodice, a very stiff black skirt, and black stockings ter- 
minating also in wooden shoes. The children looked as 
solemn as a little old man and woman, the girl with her hands 
folded primly on her bosom, the boy with his little hands 
stuck firmly in the waistband of his bragon-b7'as. 

Inland, scattered here and there, sometimes surrounded by 
fir trees, more often not sheltered at all, were a number of 
little farms, from which these pupils came. The green field 
in which they sat was part of a great plain of heath and 
gorse, interspersed with broad green pieces of pasture, and 
stretching along the low granite cliffs of the sea. All was 
very calm and still, and Master Arfoll, from the knoll where 
he sat, could trace the sea-coast for many miles away — the 
blue capes stretching dim in the distance, the cream-white 
surf breaking in sandy bays, the dark blue waters moving 
softly under the shadows of the wind. 

Here and there on the plain rose a menhir 1 or dolmen ; 
others lay overthrown among the furze. Not twenty yards 
from the knoll, a moss-grown dolmen — so high that a tall 
man might stand within it erect — cast its dark shadow on the 
grass. 

Master Arfoll ceased ; then he turned smiling to the little 
maiden, and said — - 

" Now, my little Katel, read after me ! " 

The girl came closer, put her little face close into the book, 
and followed Master Arfoll's finger as it slowly traversed the 
lines. It was the New Testament she was reading, trans- 
lated into modern French. When she had read a verse, with 
much blundering and confusion of Brezonec and French 
proper, the teacher patted her on the head. 

" Good," he said, and Katel blushed with delight. 

Then the little boy tried, with less patience and less suc- 
cess. His French was utterly unintelligible. 

1 A menhir is an upright solitary stone ; a dolmen is a chamber formed by a 
large stone placed erect on two upright stones, the sides being left open ; and a 
cromlech is a collection of dolmens. 



A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING, 141 

" Take time, my Roberd ! " said the teacher. But Roberd, 
although he took time, fared no better than before. 

Presently, when the adult peasant came up to try, it was 
worst of all. His pronunciation of the letters was barbarous, 
and the smallest word of one syllable was beyond his powers. 
Nevertheless, he seemed to take great delight in the pursuit of 
knowledge, and when the other pupils, particularly little 
Katel, laughed outright at his blunders, he only grinned and 
scratched his head with the utmost good-humour. 

It was a scene for a painter. The sun shone brightly on 
the happy group, and softly touched the careworn lines of 
Master Arfoll's face and lit up the quaint costumes of his 
pupils ; while all around him it gleamed on fields and farms, 
and on the great plain of furze, and on the twinkling sea. 
Ever and anon a white sea-gull, sailing in from the cliffs, 
passed softly over their heads ; and right above the dolmen, 
rising ever higher and higher, a lark was singing. 

Then Master Arfoll took the old weather-beaten book, and 
turning over its worn leaves, read a part of a chapter, trans- 
lating it rapidly aloud into melodious Brezonec. It was 
the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, and the part he 
read was the parable of the man who gave a great supper. 

All listened eagerly ; it was a story, like one of the tales 
told at the veilUe, and they hearkened open-mouthed. When 
he had finished he said suddenly — 

" My children, let us pray ! " 

All knelt around him, from the peasant to little Katel, wh« 
fingered meanwhile a small rosary of oaken beads that hung 
over her white stomacher. 

This was Master Arfoll's prayer — 

" Pour forth, I beseech thee, O Lord, Thy grace into the 
hearts of these Thy children ; that they, when the time comes, 
may know Thee and not Antichrist ; may feel Thy Divine 
assistance always with them, may recognise Thy truth and 
Thy knowledge, nor come and go upon the earth even as 
brute beasts of the field. Enlighten them, since they need 
light. Amen ! Teach them, since they are willing to be 



142 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

taught. Amen ! Strengthen them, that they kneel not to 
any graven Image or to any wicked Man. Amen ! May 
their souls through life know the great gospel of love and 
peace, and may they meet at Thy great Supper, when the 
days of their life are done. Amen, Amen ! " 

At every repetition of " Amen," little Katel crossed her- 
self vigorously. To none of the scholars did the 
prayer seem different from other prayers, though Master 
Arfoll extemporised it, as was his custom, with profounder 
meanings. 

Then all rose, and clustered round Master Arfoll in the 
sunlight. 

° That is enough for to-day," he said, with his hand on 
little Katel's head. "To-morrow we will meet here, my 
children, at the same hour." 

" Master Arfoll ! " cried little Katel. 

" Well, little one ? " 

" Mother is angry that thou hast not stayed with her since 
thou earnest to Traonili. She bids me tell thee that she 
hath a pair of leather shoes for thee, and more." 

The schoolmaster smiled kindly. 

" Tell thy mother I will stay with her to-night." 

" Nay, that is not fair," cried out one of the older girls, 
" You promised Aunt Nola to stay with us." 

This vehemently, but with a curtsy. 

" We will see, we will see," said Master Arfoll, nodding 
his head. " Now, hasten home, for the noonday angelus 
has already sounded. Goodman Penvenn, till to-morrow ! 
Patience ! You will be a scholar yet ! " 

The last words were addressed to the eldest of the class, 
who grinned a delighted reply, and in a thick patois pressed 
the schoolmaster soon to visit his brother, Mikel Penvenn, 
on whose farm he was a labourer. 

A minute more, and the " school " was scattered : Pen- 
venn making his way straight across the plain, the young 
girls and the lad walking slowly this way and that, the two 
young boys running with shouts and cries across the fields, 



A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING. 143 

and irttle Katel and her brother trotting hand in hand to the 
nearest farm. 

While the schoolmaster, with a dreamy eye, is watching 
his little flock retreat, it may be well to explain the peculi- 
arities of his strange vocation. 

Before the great Revolution, Brittany had been full of 
itinerant teachers, educated by the Church, who travelled 
from village to village, and from farm to farm, teaching 
children the Latin prayers, the Angelus Domini, and the 
Catechism. They were generally men whose hopes of 
following the priesthood had been disappointed. Their 
lives were hard, their food the commonest, their whole 
profession allied to mendicancy. Their lessons were given 
at all hours and under all conditions. Sometimes in the 
fields, in the intervals of labour ; sometimes in the stable 
and cowshed ; sometimes under the Cross in the highway ; 
sometimes within, but oftener without. Their pay was 
miserable : six sous monthly from each family or value for 
that amount. Besides this, they had perquisites and 
presents — bacon, honey, linen, measures of corn. They were 
welcome to bed and board, wherever they liked to stay, and 
had a certain honour among the ignorant people ; for an 
odour of sanctity hung about them, seeing that they had 
been reared in the bosom of the Church. They passed thus 
from village to village, till they were too weak to travel any 
longer afoot ; then some of them, in their age, contrived to 
procure an old mule or donkey to bear them, feeding it in the 
fields or by the deep roadsides ; and finally, when they were 
quite decrepit and beyond imparting the little they knew, 
many became professional mendicants, begging their bread 
from door to door. 

With the fiery breath of the Revolution, these itinerant 
schoolmasters were scattered as sparks, and most of them 
disappeared for ever. During the later years of the Empire, 
when it was most the cue of Napoleon to appear as the 
father of religion and the establisher of a new and holy regime 
numbers of them reappeared, following their old vocation. 



*44 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

At the time of the Revolution, Master Arfoll must have 
been about thirty years of age ; but none in that district 
of Brittany remembered seeing his face before about the 
beginning of the new century. His first appearance was as 
a grave elderly man, who wore upon his features the mark 
of some terrible trouble, and many of his utterances were so 
wild and peculiar that his sanity was often called in question. 
None knew if he had ever studied in any Church seminary ; 
none knew whether or not he was a Breton born. It was 
generally reported that he had been a dweller in one of the 
great cities, and that there, during the years of Terror, he 
had known such experiences as had turned his hair prema- 
turely grey. 

However that may be, the people knew him and 
loved him. A good man, whatever his opinions, disarms 
opposition ; and besides, Master Arfoll never paraded 
opinions. He was welcome at nearly every farmhouse and 
little cottage ; and when hospitality failed him, he had black 
bread in his wallet and could find cresses in the brook. 
His life might be called hard in a certain sense, but it was 
nevertheless the life of his desires. 

The scholars were soon out of sight, and Master Arfoll 
turned his face towards the sea. He had been " sowing his 
seed," and he felt happy. A gentle light slept upon his 
careworn face as, holding his Bible in one hand, and with 
both hands behind his back, he moved past the moss-grown 
dolmen. 

He was passing by, when suddenly he heard a sound 
behind his back ; at the same moment, a hand was placed 
upon his shoulder. He turned quickly, and there, as if 
sprung from the very bowels of the earth, stood Rohan 
Gwenfern. 

Not at the first look did Master Arfoll recognise his pupil ; 
for already the man was cruelly changed. His hair was 
wild and his beard unshaven, his eyes bloodshot and sunken, 
his face careworn and pale. It does not take many hours, 



A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING. 145 

of hunting to turn a human being into an animal ; and already 
Rohan had the wild listening look of a hunted thing. He 
seemed almost like a man uprisen from the grave ; for his 
clothes were torn and covered with damp loam, one sleeve 
of his jacket was rent and his arm bare to the elbow, and, to 
crown all, his feet were bare. 

His height and powerful frame betrayed him most. 
Moreover, despite his wild appearance, he was still physically 
beautiful. The head was still that of a lion, the hair still 
golden ; the eyes still full of their far away, visionary, leonine 
look. 

" Rohan ! " at last ejaculated Master Arfoll, half question- 
ingly, for he thought Rohan was many miles away, and 
could scarce believe his eyes. 

u Yes, it is I ! " answered Rohan, with a quick forced 
laugh, as if in mockery of his own appearance ; and he 
added, shaking the hair from his eyes, " I was hiding within 
the dolmen, waiting till you were done with your pupils. 
By St. Gildas, it was a gloomy tomb that, for a living man ! 
I thought you would never have done." 

He laughed again. There was a curious restless reckless- 
ness in his manner, and his eyes instinctively looked this 
way and that, all round him. 

The schoolmaster placed his hand gently on his arm, 
looking anxiously into his face. 

" Rohan ! how is this ? What has happened ? " 

Rohan set his teeth together and answered the look. 

" It has come as I feared — that is all." 

" What has come ? " 

" The Conscription." 

" That I knew. But then ? " 

" And I am drawn ! " answered Rohan. " Ten days ago 
was the drawing, and the day before yesterday was the 
medical inspection. A week since old Pipriac and a file of 
soldiers called to pay me their first visit. Unfortunately, I 
was not at home, and could not entertain them." 

He laughed again, a laugh full of fierceness and fear. All 



146 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

was now clear to the schoolmaster, and infinite pity filled 
his heart. 

" My poor Rohan ! " he said, softly. " I have been pray- 
ing for thee ever since we parted, and it has come to this. 
It is a sad fatality, my son, a sad fatality. And thou art in 
revolt — God help thee, for it is terrible ! " 

Rohan turned his face away, to hide the mist that clouded 
his eyes. These tender words shook him like a charm. Sud- 
denly he took both the schoolmaster's hands within his own. 

" I knew that it was coming, and it came, though I did 
not attend the drawing, and the number was drawn in my 
name. When the conscripts returned, I defied them and 
the Emperor ; some one reported that I was refractory. A 
message came commanding my appearance at Traonili. I 
did not go. Another ; and I stayed at home. After that it 
spread, and they came to arrest me. My own friends were 
worst, for they could not bear that they should go and I 
should escape. Four days ago they hunted me from home. 
I laughed at them, for I knew the ways a thousand times 
better than they. Well, I was in despair : I thought of thee. 
I have walked two nights following thee and asking after 
thee. Yesteiday I was nearly trapped in a strange village 
out there ; I had to fling away sabots and to run ; but a 
soldier caught me by the sleeve, as you see. It is hot work, 
Master Arfoll. It is so they hunt wolves in the Forest of 
Bernard." 

He spoke rapidly, as if fearingand deprecating any censure. 
At every sentence his friend's face grew paler and graver. 
At the end he sadly shook his head, and was silent. Rohan 
continued — 

" I questioned at night, when they could not recognise me, 
and I found you were in Traonili. This morning I followed 
you, always hiding when strangers appeared, for they might 
know. When you came this way I saw you were not alone, 
and I hid yonder and waited. I was in dread that you 
might accompany them up to *Ii€ -Carats. Then I sprang out, 
as you see ! " 



A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING. itf 

The plain was solitary, and they walked on side by side 
seaward. The sward was soft and green beneath their feet, 
the furze all around them grew breast-high, finches 
twittered on every spray, and many larks sang over- 
head. Here and there grew bunches of primroses, and 
wild violets were stirring under the sod. Beyond, the sea 
was sparkling, and the purple shadows of the capes stretched 
out far away. 

" Speak, then ! what am I to do ? " 

Master Arfoll started, for he had been plunged in deep 
thought. 

" My son, it is terrible ! — I am stupefied — I cannot advise 
you, for I see no hope." 

"No hope?" 

" Only one." 

"And that?" 

" To deliver yourself up to the authorities and crave for- 
giveness : men are precious now, and they will rejoice over 
thee. Otherwise I see no way; for if they find thee after- 
wards, it is death." 

Rohan made a scornful gesture. 

" I know that ; but in any case I can die, and they shall 
not take me alive against my will. But say, is this your 
advice, that I should give myself up ? " 

" I see no other way." 

" That I should become a soldier of the Emperor ? " 

" If it is against thy will God will acquit thee. Rohan, it 
is a man against the world." 

" Go on." 

"And even in battle thou mayst serve God. Thou wilt bear 
a weapon, but it will be thy fault if it takes any creature's life ; 
and then, thou mayst come back living when all is done." 

Rohan listened with downcast eyes. 

" What more ? " he asked. 

" No more. I know no other hope, my son." 

" Can I not escape ? — out of France ? — to another 
country?" 



148 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Master Arfoll shook his head and pointed. 

" That way lies Vannes ; that way Nantes ; that way 
Brest ; and between these towns thousands of villages. On 
every roadside, at every cabaret, they are watching for 
deserters." 

" If I could reach Morlaix, where there are ships ! " 

" It is impossible. From hence to Kromlaix is the lone- 
liest part of Brittany ; all the rest is full of eyes. No 
disguise would save thee, for thou art a man in a hundred. 
Thou hast felt it already. They would discover thee, and 
then, — no mercy ! " 

Rohan seemed not in the least astonished. He had not 
questioned Master Arfoll with the air of a man having much 
hope left : rather like a man who had weighed, all his 
chances and knew them well beforehand. When the 
Schoolmaster had finished, Rohan said quietly, looking up — 

"To yield myself up! To become a soldier of the 
Emperor ! Well, that is not the help for which I came." 

He paused, and then continued rapidly — 

"My father — for you will let me call you that! — you do 
not do me justice ; you think I am weak and infirm of 
purpose ; you advise me as if I were little Katel yonder, or 
her brother, or any child. That is not fair ; for I am a man. 
When a man swears an oath before God it is that man's place 
to keep it or die. My father, do you remember that night 
when we watched the women at the Fountain, and when I 
asked you would a man be justified ? " 

Master Arfoll inclined his head in assent. His eyes now 
sought Rohan's face with a new astonishment, for he saw 
there a soul in open revolt with nature against the inhuman- 
ities of man. He felt rebuked, for indeed he had given his 
counsel as to any common creature, hoping and instructing 
for the best. But now he was reminded, as in many a 
happier day he had been reminded before, that Rohan 
Gwenfern was no common creature, but one made in the 
most unique mould of nature. 

" Yes, you remember ! " continued Rohan. " Well, your 



A GOOD MAN'S BLESSING. 149 

counsel was unkind, for it bade me break my oath. I said I 
would never become a soldier ; that while breath rilled my 
body I would never cause another creature's death ; that I 
might be killed, but that I would never kill. The time has 
come, and I am to be proved. You say there is no escape , 
but, as I said before, I can die.'' 

All the wild recklessness had departed, and he spoke now 
in a low voice, solemnly and gently. His tones and looks 
were not to be mistaken ; they expressed a decided will and 
purpose. Master ArfolPs seed had borne fruit indeed ; it 
was the Pupil now who taught and admonished the Master. 

Tears were on Master Arfoll's cheeks, and Rohan saw 
them — saw them and trembled at them, though there were 
no tears on his own. They walked slowly on, till they came 
to the edge of the cliffs, and saw beneath them the sea rolling 
in on dark ribbed sands. Then Rohan sat on a rock close 
to the edge, and, leaning his cheek on his open palm, looked 
seaward. 

Presently he said, quietly, with the air of one fisherman 
making a remark to another, "There will be wind to-night, 
and rain. Look at that bank of clouds creeping up in the 
south-west." 

Master Arfoll did not reply ; never had he seemed so 
reticent. After a pause, not changing his attitude, Rohan 
spoke again. 

" Master Arfoll, you are not angry ? " 

Angry ! With those tears still gathering in his eyes, with 
that tender trouble still lingering on his face ! He turned to 
Rohan and answered him, placing one hand on his shoulder. 

" I am angry with myself. To be so weak ! to feel so help- 
less ! to know such things are done, and yet be unable to 
lift a hand ! My son, I deserved your rebuke, for you are 
right and I was wrong. It is wrong to acquiesce in evil, 
even to save one's life ; it is accursed to draw a sword for 
that man, even though France itself is threatened. I weep 
for thee as for my own child, to see thee so troubled, so pur- 
sued ; but I say in my heart, ' God bless him ! he is right ! — 

I. 



150 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

he is a brave man,- and were I indeed his father I should be 
proud of such a son.'" 

Long before the words were finished Rohan had risen to 
his feet. Stretching out his hands, he cried — 

" My father, you have spoken at last, and it was for those 
words I came." 

He stood trembling, with the sunlight playing on his hair, 
and on his face a look which, if seen in a poet or a musician, 
would be called inspiration. 

" I came for those words ! All are against me, save my 
mother and thou ! all are against me, even the one I love 
best in the world. A good father would rather have his son 
die than live dishonoured ; and thou art my good father, and 
to go to war is dishonour, though they think it glory. Thou 
hast made me strong, my father — strong and happy. Give 
me now thy blessing, and let me go ! " 

Master Arfoll started and trembled. 

" My blessing ! Rohan, it is not worth giving ! You 
would say so, if you knew all." 

But Rohan had sunk upon his knees, looking up to Master 
Arfoll's face. 

"Bless me, my father ! Thou art the only good man I 
know ; men say too thou wast once a Priest. Your words, 
your love, have made me what I am, and your blessing will 
make me better and stronger still. You have told me that I 
am right, that God will approve me, that I shall be justified. 
Now bless me, and leave all the rest to God." 

He bowed his head ; and then and there, touching his hair 
with gentle hands, and uplifting a pallid face to heaven, 
Master Arfoll blessed him. Worse blessings have been given, 
even by Saints well known in the Calendar ! 




CHAPTER XVII. 

IN THE STORMY NIGHT. 

[OHAN GWENFERN'S well-trained eyes had 
not deceived him. The bad weather was com- 
ing, and that afternoon it came. 
1$ Parting from Master Arfoll, who slowly re- 
treated up to the peaceful farms among which 
he was then dwelling, Rohan pursued his way along the 
brink of the crags. Between him and the island the yellow- 
blossomed furze grew a tall man's height, and more than 
once, to find a path, he had to crawl down and creep like a 
fly along the very face of the crag, which was touched 
here and there by the sun to rosy light, with silver glimmers 
of mica and felspar. The solitude grew lonelier the further 
he went. Not a soul was to be seen on that dizzy path, 
which wound slowly out to the great promontory of Pointe 
du Croix. 

The expression of his face was now tolerably calm. The 
wild hunted look had vanished, to be replaced by a sad self- 
possession ; for as the dark waves broke at his feet, as the 
white gulls hovered over his head, as the goats of the crags 
walked slowly and fearlessly from his path, he felt the com- 
panionship of Nature, the happiness and freedom of a 
solitude that was not solitary, of a loneliness that was not quite 
alone. He had always loved such joys ; now he loved them 
almost to madness, for he was a man against the World. 



152 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

He was in revolt against his fellows. He had refused to 
follow the Phantom that was beckoning his generation. 

Instead of being bound like a slave in a soldier's livery and 
carrying a soldier's butchering load, he was free — he could 
move and live as he pleased, and if necessary he could die 
as he pleased. Not a sea-bird on the wing, not a seal softly 
floating in the watery empyrean, was more justified than he. 
The heart of Earth throbbed with him — he could feel it as 
he threw himself down on the soft green grass. The living 
waters leaped and rejoiced with him ; he could see them 
glancing for miles on miles with rhythmic joy. The air ex- 
ulted and blew joyfully upon him ; he drank it with slow 
heavings of the breast, and his strength grew. It was some- 
thing, after all, to be a man. It was more to be admitted to 
the sacrament of Nature, partaken of by all those creatures 
and creations which bemoan the cruelty of Men. 

The last touch of this sacrament came from a good Man's 
blessing. Before that was given he had been weak and 
afraid ; now he came back to Nature, happy and resolved. 

Yes, momentarily happy ; for persecution brings its happi- 
ness, when it draws forth the untold treasures of courage and 
self-confidence that hide in a human breast. Rohan Gwen- 
fern had always felt himself superior to his fellows ; since, 
let us admit it at once, he combined with his natural benefi- 
cence a fierce animal pride. He was not common, nor felt 
like mere slaves of the sword or the plough. Revolt de- 
veloped this pride to a passion. He loved the frightful odds 
against him, and he was ready to meet them. 

These were the thoughts and feelings that kept his heart 
up for many a mile, and made him almost forget his mother 
and Marcelle ; but as the afternoon darkened, and the 
weather began to change from sunshine to a thin dreary rain, 
he began again to be conscious of desolation. 

By this time he had reached the utmost verge of the pro- 
montory of Pointe du Croix. 

It was desolate as Death. The rain was now falling 
heavily. A slate-coloured mountain of water rose over the 



IN THE STORMY NIGHT. 153 

point, turned to livid white, hovered, and broke in a fourfold 
cataract right over the outmost rocks. The sound was 
terrible, like the sound of innumerable chariot wheels, like 
the roar of a thousand cannon. On the extremest place of 
safety sat in rows hundreds of cormorants, both black and 
green ; and although the cataracts of foam broke momently 
close to their webbed feet, many were asleep with their heads 
beneath their wings. 

Here Rohan sat and rested, far away from mortal view. 
The cormorants below sat within thirty yards of his feet, but 
none heeded him. Two ravens, a male and a female, passed 
constantly to and fro above his head, wheeling in beautiful 
circles, and hunting the cliffs like hawks of prey ; often they 
wheeled so close that he might have struck them with a 
stone. 

Presently he drew from his breast a piece of black bread, 
and began to eat. He looked round for water, but none was 
near ; so he caught the rain in his hollowed hands, and 
drank it, and was refreshed. 

All this was nothing new. Hundreds of times he had done 
for sheer pleasure what he now did from sore necessity. 
Never, however, had solitude possessed so keen a zest. 

It was here, seated alone on the promontory of Pointe du 
Croix, that he conceived his plans. When he arose and 
walked again, his ideas were all matured, and he turned his 
steps eastward, to his native village. 

When night fell it found him walking before a wild storm 
of wind and rain on the desolate track of moorland called 
Vilaine. Not a habitation was to be seen, not a sign of 
humanity in any form. Herds of wild cattle crouched to- 
gether in the rain, and on the edges of the crags ran flocks of 
wild goats. Lines of menhirs covered this plain, like lines 
of giants petrified, and as the wild rain smote upon them, and 
ran like dark tears down their jagged cheeks, they seemed 
coming to life and stirring in answer to the Spirit of the 
Storm 



154 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Amidst these stony phantoms Rohan fled. Fortunately, 
the wind was at his back and smote him on. Sometimes he 
paused to shelter in the shadow of a menhir ; then after a 
time he hastened on again. 

The night grew blacker and blacker, till he could scarcely 
see a yard along the plain. The rain fell in torrents and the 
wind shrieked. Overhead there was a confused motion and 
murmur — 

" Dant etiam sonitum patuli super aequora mundi "\ 

— the sound of the clouds roaring over the waters of the wide- 
spreading upper world. On his left hand, a motion and mur- 
mur no less terrible — that of the storm-vexed sea sounding 
upon its shores. Heaven and ocean seemed confusedly 
mixed together, as in the awful Promethean tempest. Woe 
to the traveller on the plain of Vilaine that night, if he had been 
any other than Rohan Gwenfern. 

But Rohan fought his way as if by instinct. He had more 
than once been on the great plain before, and he knew by the 
situation of many of the menhirs how to steer his course. 
Soaked to the skin, drenched so terribly that the wind tore 
off parts of his dress in strips, bareheaded and barefooted, 
he rushed along, as a boat with rent sail flees before the 
wind. 

Suddenly he paused and started back. 

A flash of crimson light arose from the very edge of the 
ocean, illuminating the darkness. 

At first superstition seized him, and he shrank afraid ; but 
in a moment he recovered himself, crept forward, and looked 
again. 

The flash continued, now coming, now going, like the gleam 
of a lighthouse lamp. 

Suddenly, instead of turning away, he ran forward in the 
direction of the light, The rain fell heavily, the storm 
shrieked, but he saw all clearly soon — a great crimson fire 

1 Luc. De Rer. Nat vi. 108. 



IN THE STORMY NIGHT. 155 

burning on the very edge of the crag, and sending a wild 
stream of light out upon the tempestuous sea. 

He crept closer, and saw distinctly, surrounding the fire, 
some dozen figures running round and round like the fiends 
of an Inferno. 

An ordinary Breton would have crossed himself and flown ; 
and indeed such an apparition, seen in such a solitude and 
on such an night, might well appal even the stoutest heart. 
Rohan was not so daunted. He paused and looked, and 
now, wafted on the wind, he distinctly heard voices. 

Then crouching down almost to the ground, he crept fifty 
yards closer still, and gazed in horror once again. 

Close to the edge of the cliffs — held down by ropes attached 
to enormous stones — stood a huge cage of iron, in which 
burnt a fire of bog oak, bushes of furze, and dry sods of 
peat ; and surrounding it, as the flame leaped and darted 
in the wild breath of the tempest, were seven or eight 
men and two or three old women. Some, running round 
and round the cage, momently shut out the light from the 
sea ; others sat on the grass glaring at the flame, theii 
features horribly illuminated ; and one groach, or old 
woman, like a very Witch of Endor, was leaning forward 
over the flame and chattering wildly as she warmed her 
skinny hands. 

Within a few yards of this group stood a low menhir, 
partly sheltering them from the torrents of rain ; and crawl- 
ing up close in the shadow of this, Rohan listened and 
watched. 

" Bad luck to Penruach this night ! " said a voice. " It is 
too dark out there even to see our fire." 

" That's as St. Lok wills," croaked the old woman. " If 
he means to send us luck, the luck will come." 

Rohan shuddered. He knew his company now. The 
creatures on whom he gazed were fishers from Penruach, 
whose wrecking propensities even the severe laws passed 
after the Revolution had never been able to extinguish, and 



156 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

who regarded every passing ship as legitimate plunder. This 
St. Lok of theirs, by whom the old crone swore, had been a 
wrecker too ; for, if tradition was to be believed, he was an 
antique Christian who spent his time in luring to destruction 
the ships of infidel invaders, and who was presently canon- 
ised for his pains ! 

Outside the point of vantage where this group gathered, 
stretched for miles one black neck of fatal reefs, partially 
covered and partially submerged. Dark as the night was, 
Rohan could see the flashing of foam-white breakers far out 
at sea ; and wherever the horrible light from the cage fell in 
one long stream across the water, it shone only on the white- 
ness of broken foam or on black edges of rock. 

Rohan hesitated. He knew and loathed the horrible work 
the creatures were about, but he was also cognizant of his 
own danger and wished to act with caution. His resolution 
was soon taken, and he acted upon it at once. 

" Lok ! Lok ! send us a ship ! " cried another woman, 
using the first line of an old distich. " St. Lok is deaf, it 
seems ! " she added bitterly. 

" Don't cry so loud, mother," cried a man. " Tis enough 
to waken the dead. Come, drink ! Luck to St. Lok, and 
luck to the men of Penruach ! " 

A bottle was passed across to the woman, and she raised 
it to her lips. As she did so a wild shriek, startling and 
shrill, broke upon the night. All, men and women alike, 
leaped panic-stricken to their feet. 

"See!" shrieked a man. " An eel du I an eel did" 1 and 
he pointed at the. menhir. 

On the very top of the stone stood a gigantic figure waving 
its arms, with an unearthly scream. Its form seemed mis- 
shapen and bloody, its face glared horribly. Elevated so 
high, it seemed unspeakably terrible, and the boldest man 
there was panic-stricken. 

" It is St. Lok himself ! " shrieked one, flying past into the 
night. 

1 Breton name for the Devil 



IN THE STORMY NIGHT. 157 

" An (el dn ! ati eel du ! " said the others, stumbling, 
shrieking, flying, scattering themselves like foam into the 
darkness. 

In a minute the place was deserted, and Rohan, with a 
wild laugh, leaped down. His stratagem had succeeded. 
By fixing his hands and feet in the fissures of the stone, he 
had slowly attained its summit, and emerged upon the awe- 
struck sight of the wreckers. Not without some peril was 
this accomplished, for the sea was shrieking beneath his feet, 
and one false trick of the wind might have cast him over. 

Springing down upon the cage, he seized it with all his 
strength, loosened it from its ropes and stones, and cast it 
over into the boiling sea. For one moment it illumined the 
waters, then it sank and disappeared. 

The darkness that followed was so complete that Rohan, 
whose eyes were blinded by the light, could at first dis- 
tinguish nothing ; and overwhelmed by the fury of wind and 
rain, he cast himself upon the ground. 

Rising presently, when his eyes were accustomed to the 
darkness, he silently pursued his way. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 




THE PRAYERS OF TWO WOMEN. 

HE drawing was over, the medical inspection 
had taken place, and the conscripts of Krom- 
laix knew their fate. 

Gildas Derval passed the inspection with 
flying colours ; and being by this time fully 
plied with brandy and martial inspiration, he swaggered 
about like a very veteran. 

Now, it so happened that the wish of his heart was granted, 
and Hoel was a conscript too. Hoel had drawn "twenty- 
seven," and as two of those who had drawn lower numbers - 
turned out unfit for service, not to speak of Rohan, who was 
non est, he was enrolled and passed among the fatal twenty- 
five. The Corporal was in his glory, the twins full of bravado, 
the mother disconsolate. In a few days they would receive 
their tickets, and have to march. 

Meantime, the hue and cry had begun for the refractory 
" number one." 

A body of getidarmes from St. Gurlott, headed by old 
Jacques Pipriac, were scouring the village day and night 
while the conscripts were aiding them as far as lay in their 
power. All in vain. After the first attempt made to arrest 
him, Rohan was invisible. 

" Malediction ! " cried Pipriac to poor Mother Gwenfern 
one day, as for the fourth or fifth time they searched her 



THE PRAYERS OF TWO WOMEN. 159 

cabin. " Could I but lay my hand on him, he should sweat 
for it. Thou hast him hidden— deny it not ! Out with him ! 
A thousand devils ! "• 

And they prodded the mattresses with their bayonets, and 
turned out cupboards too small to conceal a dog, and looked 
everywhere into most unlikely places, while Mother Gwen- 
fern cried bitterly — 

"Ah, Sergeant Pipriac ! I never thought you could be sc 
cruel to his father's son ! " 

The Sergeant, a little one-eyed, hook-nosed martinet, very 
fond of the bottle, twirled his grey moustache and scowled. 
He had been a great friend of her husband, and his present 
conduct seemed ungrateful. 

" Malediction ! one must do one's duty. Mother, thy son 
is a fool ; and were I not after him, there would be others 
far worse to do the job ! Come, let us have him, and I vow 
by the bones of St. Triffine that he shall be pardoned, and 
become a brave soldier of the Emperor." 

And while one of the ge7idarmes pushed his head up the 
chimney, and another held his nose over the black swinging- 
pot, as if expecting to find the fugitive there, the mothei 
answered — 

" I have told you he is not here ! I do not know where 
he is ! Perhaps he has found a ship, and gone to England ! " 

" Tons les diables / to England ! " 

" Yes, Sergeant Pipriac.'' 

" Bah ! that is not so easy, and he knows better than to 
trust himself in a land of wild beasts. No, he is here. I 
know it — I smell it as a dog smells a rat. Malediction ! that 
the son of my good comrade Raoul Gwenfern should turn 
out a coward." 

The widow's pale cheek flushed. 

" He is no coward, Sergeant Pipriac." 

" He will not fight. He creeps away and hides. He is 
afraid." 

" It is not that. My Rohan is afraid of nothing, but he 
will never become a soldier." 



160 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The old fellow snapped his fingers. 

" If I had him here, I would read him a lesson. Ah, if he 
would but take example by his two brave cousins, Hoel 
and Gildas. Those are men, if you like ! each could 
strangle an ox ! And their uncle,' the Corporal, Mother 
Gwenfern — there's a man ! " 

Turning to his file of gendarmes, he cried — 

" Shoulder arms ! march ! the fox is not here ! '' 

Then turning again at the door, as if still twitted by his 
conscience, he cried — 

" Good day, mother ! but, mind you, we shall come again ; 
it is not our fault, but the Emperor's orders. Take my 
advice, and persuade him ; in another day it will be too late. 
Now, then — march ! " 

They were gone, and the widow was left to her lonely 
reflections. She sat silent by the fire, thinking. She was a 
tall woman, with ashen grey complexion and white hair. 
She was the half-sister of Margarid Maure, who had married 
the fisherman Derval, brother of the Corporal ; and being 
a very quiet, retiring woman, given to her own thoughts, she 
had seen very little of her sister or her children. People 
thought her unsociable and melancholy. Indeed her whole 
heart was filled with her love for her only son. 

When she told the Sergeant that she was ignorant of 
Rohan's whereabouts, she only spoke the truth. She had 
not seen her son for several days, and she was almost hoping 
that he had made good his escape to some safer district. 
Poor woman, she little knew how thickly the country 
was covered with snares and traps for deserters, and how 
difficult it was to elude the vigilant eyes of the public 
officials. 

From the beginning she had regretted Rohan's deliberate 
and terrible revolt. Everybody said it was cowardly. Even 
his own blood relations turned against him ; the whole 
village talked of him in no flattering way. Twenty times in 
a day the gossips brought her news which frightened her, 
and made her poor heart beat painfully, and her lips grow 



THE PR A YERS OF TWO WOMEN. l6l 

Drue. No one thought Rohan could escape for long ; and 
when he was caught, he would be shot like a dog. 

Far better, she argued, had he obeyed at once, and trusted 
to the good God for help. Many had gone and come home 
safe enough ; witness Uncle Ewen, who was covered with 
old wounds. Her heart was hard against the Emperor, but 
only as, in days of trouble, it had been hard against God. 
And the Emperor was like God — so great, so very far away ! 

She sat listening to the wind, which was rising that after- 
noon, and to the rain, which was beating against the door. 
Crouched near to her, with its eyes closed in the sleepy light 
of the fire, was Jannedik, the she-goat, her son's favourite, 
and now her only companion. 

It was a small room, rudely furnished with coarse oaken 
table and chairs. The floor was of earth, the black rafters 
stretched overhead. On the wall hung fishing and fowling 
nets, a fowler's pole and hook, etc. ; and pasted near the 
fireplace was a coloured print similar to the painting h\ 
Notre Dame de la Garde, representing shipwrecked sailors 
on a raft, kneeling all bareheaded, while a naked child, with 
a halo round his head, came walking to them on the sea. 

The afternoon was very chilly and dreary, and where she 
sat she could hear the sea moaning as it does when stormy 
weather is coming. 

Presently Jannedik rose, pricked up her ears, and listened. 
She had quick ears, had Jannedik, and would have been as 
good as a watch-dog, if only she could have barked hef 
warnings. 

She was right ; some one was coming. Presently the 
latch moved. 

Mother Gwenfern did not turn round at first ; she was too 
used to the neighbours coming in and out, and she thought 
it was one of them. But when Jannedik, as if quite satisfied, 
sank down again on the hearth, Mother Gwenfern moved on 
the form, and saw her niece Marcelle, taking off a large 
black cloak which was wet with rain. 

They had only met once since that scene on the night cf 



162 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the drawing, and then Mother Gwenfern had been very 
angry and bitter. Seeing now who it was, she grew pale, 
and her heart began to palpitate, as, with no greeting, she 
turned her eyes again upon the fire. 

" It is I, Aunt Loiz ! " said Marcelle softly. 

There was no answer. The widow still felt her heart full 
of anger against the Dervals, and she was very indignant at 
seeing Marcelle. 

" I could not bear to think of thee sitting here all alone, 
and though my uncle did not wish it, I have come over. 
Ah, God, thou art lonely ! It is dreadful when all the world 
is against one's own son." 

■ The widow stirred in her chair, and said, still looking at 
the fire — 

" It is yet more dreadful when one's own blood relations 
hate us most. It was an ill day when my sister Margarid 
married a Derval, for you are all alike, though Ewen Derval 
is the worst. Some day, when you marry, you will know 
what it is to suffer like me, and you will pity me then." 

Hanging her cloak against the wall, Marcelle came nearer 
and sat down upon the form by the window's side. The 
widow shrank away a little, but said nothing. Marcelle, too, 
fixed her eyes upon the fire, and leant forward, warming her 
hands as she continued to speak. 

" You are unjust to me, Aunt Loiz. I pity you now — ah, 
God, how I pity you ! Uncle Ewen pities you, too, and he 
is so vexed and dull that he hardly tastes a morsel. Our 
house is nearly as sad as this, for Hoel and Gildas are both 
to go, and mother does nothing but cry." 

It was a curious sight to see those two women — one so 
old and grey, the other so fresh and pretty — sitting on one 
form side by side, not looking in each other's face, but 
both, whether speaking or listening, only gazing at the fire. 
Jannedik seemed to have her own opinions on the subject, 
for she rose quietly and put her large head between Marcelle's 
knees. 

There was a long silence, and the wind and the sea cried 



THE PKA YERS OF TWO WOMEN. 163 

still louder outside. Finally the widow said, in the same low 
voice— 

" Why have you come, child ? What has brought you 
here at last ? " 

" Ah, Aunt Lo'iz, can you not guess ? I came to ask after 
Rohan — whether he is still safe." 

The answer was a short, hard, bitter laugh. 

" So ! Weil, he is safe, if you desire to know. You may 
go back to those who sent you, and tell them that much 
from me. Yes ! " she continued, her voice rapidly rising in 
anger, " I know well what you come for, Marcelle Derval. 
You wish to find out where my poor boy is hidden, and then 
betray him to Ewen Derval and his enemies. You are a fool 
for your pains, and may God punish you for your wicked- 
ness, though your mother was of my blood ! " 

Marcelle was a high-spirited girl, and it is doubtful if she 
ivould have borne as much from any other woman in the 
world. Strange to say, she was now quite gentle, and only 
put her hand on her aunt's arm, saying — 

" Don't ! don't speak like that, for the love of God ! " 

Something in the tone startled the widow, and turning, 
she saw that Marcelle's eyes were blind with tears. She gazed 
in wonder, for Marcelle was not given to the melting mcod. 

" Marcelle, what do you mean ? Why do you cry ? " 

The tone was sharp, but the look of the speaker's face 
was kinder. Marcelle rose, trembling. 

" Never mind ! You think I have no heart ! Well, I will 
go, for you do not trust me, and I have no right to vex you. 
But if you knew ! if you knew ! " 

She turned as if to go ; but the widow, reaching out her 
lean hand, restrained her. 

" Marcelle, speak ! " 

Marcelle stood moveless, and, still trembling, looked into 
her aunt's face. 

" Then Rohan has never spoken, Aunt Lo'iz ! Well, I 
made him promise not to tell ! '' 

" I do not understand 1 " 



164 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

But the widow, from the new light on her niece's cheeks, 
was beginning to understand very well. 

" I love Rohan, Aunt Loiz ! I did not know it till lately, 
but now I love him dearly, and I cannot bear to hear you 
say such hard things of me, — for he has asked me to be his 
wife ! " 

The widow uttered an exclamation. The declaration did 
not surprise her so much in itself, for she had often had her 
suspicions, but it was startling as coming at that moment 
and under those circumstances. She looked keenly for a 
long time at Marcelle, who hung her head, and went alter- 
nately red and pale. At last she said, in a more gentle tone 
than before — " Sit down, Marcelle ! " 

Marcelle again sat down by her side, comforted and 
strengthened in so far that her confession was over. Then 
came a longer silence than ever ; for the widow was in her 
own mind going over the past, and wondering over many 
things, in a waking dream. Marcelle was beginning to 
think her angry, when she said, in a low voice, as if talking 
to herself — 

" If you love him as you say, it is strange that you brought 
him no better luck ! " 

This was a home-thrust, for Marcelle had often thought the 
same herself. 

" It is strange, as you say ! " she cried. " Ah ! it was 
terrible to me, for I had prayed to draw a lucky chance. 
Aunt Loiz, I did it for the best. He bade me draw ; and 
he was not there ; and if none of his kin had appeared for 
him, the black mark would have been put at once against 
his name. Uncle Ewen saved him that, for he spoke up 
and said he was ill. And now, Aunt Loiz, if he would only 
go ! Uncle Ewen has influence, and Rohan would be 
pardoned ; excuses could be mude ; ah, if he would only 
give himself up at once! Hoel and Gildas are both going, 
and he would have company. We two would pray for him 
right and day while he was away, would we not, Aunt Loiz ? 
Ah, if he would be wise I " 



THE PRA VERS OF TWO WOMEN. 165 

By this time the women were close together, holding each 
other's hands, and both were weeping. It was blessed, the 
widow now felt, to weep a little with one who loved her son, 
when all others were against him. But she cried, between 
her tears — 

" No, it is impossible ! " 

" If I could only see him and speak to him ! But he is so 
hard to understand. Ah, God ! to hear every one, even the 
children, say our Rohan is afraid — it almost breaks my heart/ 

" He is not afraid, Marcelle ! " 

" This is what makes it all so strange. I know he is so 
brave, braver than all the rest ; and yet, look you, he does 
not act like a man. When the Emperor calls for his chil- 
dren, he stays. When all the others take their chance fairly, 
he keeps away. When his number is drawn, he hides — he 
who is so strong. What can I answer, when Gildas and Hoel 
say that he is afraid, and even Uncle Ewen cries shame 
upon his name ? " 

" He is so headstrong ! and Master Arfoll has filled his 
brain with strange notions.'' 

" You are right," cried Marcelle, eagerly : " it is Master 
Arfoll that is to blame. Ah, he is a wicked man, that, and 
no friend to the good Emperor, or to God." 

Thus the two women conversed together, till the ice 
between them thawed, and they were quite reconciled. 
Mother Gvvenfern had never doubted that Rohan was mad 
to resist the imperial authority, and much as her heart ached 
to think of parting with him, the dreadiul uncertainty of his 
present fate was still more painful. About Master Arfoll, 
too, she was agreed, as we have seen. She could not under- 
stand that extraordinary being, and in her superstition she 
had often looked upon him with absolute dread. He was 
too clever to be a safe adviser for her son, and he never went 
to mass or confession, and men said he had been guilty of 
strange deeds in his youth. Ah, if her poor Rohan had never 
met such a teacher ! So thought she ; and so thought the 
excited girl at her side. 

M 



166 THE SHADOW Ot THE SWORD. 

So by-and-by it came to pass that Mother Gwenfern was 
holding Marcelle's little hand between her own trembling 
fingers, and softly smoothing it, with tender words. 

" Thou art a good girl," she said, " and I would wish no 
better for my daughter, if that could be. It was not thy 
fault that Rohan spoke to thee in that way, instead of first 
speaking to me ; men do foolish things for a girl, and Rohan 
is not wise — the good God help him ! Oh, my son, my son ! " 

And she began again to weep bitterly, rocking herself to 
and fro, while Marcelle tried in vain to comfort her ; nay, 
not wholly in vain, for there was solace in the touch of the 
soft young hands, in the sound of the gentle voice, in the 
very breathing and presence of one who loved her boy. The 
two hearts throbbed together, as hand clasped in hand the 
women wept together ; and presently sinking down on their 
knees, while Jannedik, the goat, blinked great brown eyes in 
astonishment, both women prayed that the man they loved 
might cease his mad purpose, might come in and yield to the 
inevitable decree, might trust himself in the hands of the 
good God, who would preserve him for them throughout the 
war. 

By such prayer, by the prayer of those nearest and dearest 
to him, is a man often softly drawn away from an immortal 
purpose ; where power and strength might avail nothing, 
tears and a little love avail much, to shake the soul's sense 
of some pitiless duty. An infant's little hands may thus 
draw the just man from justice, the righteous man from 
righteousness ; for justice and righteousness are alike awful, 
while to stoop and kiss is sweet. When a man's house is 
armed in affection against him, when, instead of help and a 
sword, he finds on his own hearth only feebleness and a love 
that cannot understand, strong indeed must be his purpose, 
supreme indeed must be his faith, if he walks still onward 
and upward to the terrible heights of God. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



DOWN BY THE SHORE. 




■ HEN Marcelle emerged from the widow's cottage, 
her tears were all dry, and she walked swiftly 
through the rain in the direction of the village. 
The wind was still rising upon the sea, and the 
sea, although it was still calm, had that 
indescribable hollow concussion which is only to be 
heard previous to stormy weather. The fishermen were 
drawing their flat-bottomed boats up higher, and carrying 
their nets and ropes within doors for shelter, while a few 
strong old men, in their nightcaps and blue guernseys, were 
stolidly smoking in the rain and nodding their heads out at 
the sea. The tide was three-cmarters flowed, and all the 
fountains were long covered. 

Instead of turning inland up the main street of the village, 
Marcelle passed along the wet shingle, until she had to 
thread her way among the caloges, or upturned boats con- 
verted into houses and stores, which clustered on the strand 
just above high-water mark. Most of these caloges had iron 
funnels to let out the smoke ; and on their roofs, or keels, 
thick slimy grass was growing, and on more than one of the 
roofs goats were contentedly grazing. Many of the doors 
were closed, for the wind blew right into them ; but on one 
or two thresholds men lounged, or women sat busy knitting, 
or picturesque children crawled. This was the lower village, 



1 6b THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

exclusively devoted to the fishing population, and quite 
inferior in social status to the more solid village above. 

Marcelle soon found what she was seeking, — a stone cabin 
built just above these amphibious dwellings, and newly 
thatched. Here, in the shelter of the doorway, a girl sat in 
an old-fashioned armchair, busily teasing and cording wool, 
and singing to herself. 

" Welcome, Marcelle ! " she said, quietly using the usual 
Breton greeting. 

" God be with you, Guineveve ! " answered Marcelle, 
smiling ; then, standing in the doorway and looking down at 
the busy fingers, she added, " How is Mother Goron ? ! ' 

" You would say she was ten years younger," answered 
Guineveve. " She sings about the place at her work, and 
she will never rest, and she prays for the Emperor every 
night, because he has not taken Jan away." 

A faint colour came into the girl's cheeks as she spoke, 
but her face, seen in its tight snowy coif, was still very pale. 
As she sat there, in her dark dress with the white stomacher 
and sleeves, in her blue petticoat and stockings and leather 
shoes with buckles, you would have said, had you been a 
Kromlaix man, " That is the girl I could dance with from 
night till dawn of day.'' 

She was not Kromlaix born, but was a native of Brest. 
When she was a child only a year or two old her parents 
died, and Mother Goron, who was a distant relation, 
brought the little one back with her from Brest, where she 
had been on business concerning a pension she inherited 
from her husband, Jacques Goron, who had been a marine 
and had died in the lazaretto. From that day Mother Goron 
brought up Guineveve as her own child, with her only son 
Jan. 

" What news ? " she said, looking up quickly, after a 
pause. 

" None. Aunt Lo'iz does net know where he is. He has 
not been near home for many nights, and she is growing 
afraid " 



D WN B V THE SHORE. 1 69 

" It is very strange." 

" He is quite desperate and mad. I sometimes shudder, 
for he may have drowned himself in his rage. If I could 
only speak with him ! " 

They were talking, of course, of Rohan ; but the personal 
pronoun was quite enough, as the girls were in each other's 
confidence, and understood one another. 

" Gildas is to go ? " said Guineveve presently. 

" Yes ; and Hoel." 

" Even then, your mother has Alain and Jannick ; and, 
then, there is Uncle Ewen. But it is terrible for the woman 
who has only one. If the Emperor had taken Jan, mother 
would have died." 

" But Aunt Lo'i'z prays that he may go ! " 

" That is different. Ah, she has courage ! If I had a son 
my heart would break." 

" She is grieving, too," answered Marcelle. " It is the 
way of women. For my part, if I had a son and he was 
afraid, I should never love him any more. Think how 
terrible it would be if the good Emperor were served so by 
all his children, for whom he has done so much ; he would 
be massacred, and then what would become of France ? If 
Rohan were in his right senses he would not hide away." 

" Perhaps he is afraid," sighed Guineveve. " Well, it is 
no wonder ! " 

Marcelle set her white teeth together, and trembled. 

" If I thought it was that," she cried, " I should hate him 
for ever and ever ; I should then die of shame. What is a 
man if he has not a man's heart, Guineveve ? He is no 
more than a fish in the sea, that flashes off if you move your 
hand. No, no, he is brave. But I will tell you what I 
think — Master Arfoll has put a charm upon him ; he is 
bewitched ! " 

Marcelle did not speak figuratively ; sne literally and 
simply meant that the schoolmaster had affected Rohan by 
some diabolical art. 

"But Master Arfoll is a good man ! " cried Guineveve. 



170 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

"You may think that if you please, but I have my own 
thoughts. They say he was once a Priest, and now he is 
friends with no Priest but Father Rolland, who is friends 
with everybody. He knows cures for men and cattle, and 
they work like magic. I was told once up in St. Gurlott 
that he had the evil eye." 

Guineveve shuddered, for she too had her superstitions, — 
how, indeed, could she avoid them, reared as she had been 
in so lonely and uncultivated an atmosphere? So when 
Marcelle crossed herself, she crossed herself too ; but she 
looked up with a sad smile, saying — 

" I do not believe that of Master Arfoll ; and you must not 
say so to Mother Goron — he did her a great service long 
ago, and she thinks he is a saint, as pure as one of God's 
angels. Ah yes, he has the face of a good man ! " 

Marcelle's eyes flashed, and she was about to repeat her 
charges even more angrily, when Jan Goron walked hurriedly 
up to the door. He paused, surprised at seeing Marcelle 
there, and then turned smiling to Guineveve, whose face 
kindled at his coming. 

"Welcome, Jan ! " said Marcelle. 

Goron looked this way and that, as if fearing an eaves- 
dropper ; then said in a low voice, rapidly — 

" I have news, Marcelle ! He is not far away ! " 

Marcelle was about to utter a cry, when he placed his 
hand upon her arm. 

" Hush ! Come within, for the rain is heavy ; " and when 
they were standing inside, with a full view of poor old 
Mother Goron bustling busily before the fire, he added, 
" He was seen at Ploubol yesterday, and a man recognised 
him, and he was nearly taken. He struck down the gen- 
darmes, and that will make his case worse. There is no 
escape ; he must soon be caught. He was last seen going 
in the direction of Traonili." 

Marcelle wrung her hands in despair. 

" Ah, God, he is lost — he is mad 1 " 

" Have you seen the proclamations ? " asked Goron, in the 



D WN B Y THE SHORE. 1 7 1 

same low voice. " Well, they are posted up along the road, 
and there is one on the church gate, and another on your 
own door. They forbid one to give shelter or succour to any 
deserter on pain of death ; they say that every conscript 
who has not answered to his name will be shot like a dog ; 
there is to be no mercy, — it is too late." 

Goron was deeply moved, for he was the one man in 
Kromlaix of whom Rohan had ever made a friend. In his 
character and his whole bearing there was a nobility akin to 
that of Rohan himself. And who that saw the quiet light 
in his eyes as he looked at Guineveve could doubt that he 
too loved and was loved in return ? 

When Goron mentioned the proclamations against desert- 
ers, Marcelle's heart went sick. 

He had not told her, however, of the sight he had seen 
with his own eyes — old Corporal Derval himself, pipe in 
mouth, accompanied by the gendarme Pipriac and followed 
by Hoel and Gildas, strutting forth and sticking up with 
his own hands the paper that was now to be seen on his own 
door! 

Marcelle was not one of those maidens who wear their 
hearts on their sleeves : she had martial blood in her veins, 
and was quite capable, literally and figuratively, of " stand- 
ing fire." But this gnawing terror overpowered her, and she 
grew faint. All the memory of that happy day in the 
Cathedral of St. Gildas swam before her ; she felt the 
embracing arms, the loving kiss ; and then she seemed again 
to behold her lover as he had appeared on the night of the 
Conscription, wild-eyed, vehement, blaspheming all she held 
holy and sublime. It was curious, as illustrating the tenacity 
of her character, that she still stubbornly and firmly refused 
to believe that Rohan, in his extraordinary conduct, was 
actuated by the ordinary motives of cowardice and fear. 
She chose rather to think him the victim of some malignant 
fate, some diabolic spell such as " wise men " like Master 
Arfoll knew how to weave, than to dream that he acted 
under emotions which, in her simple idea, could be only 



i?2 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

both treasonable and base. True, she remembered w\tn a 
shiver his old expressions concerning the Emperor ; but 
these, she always persuaded herself, were uttered when he 
was not in his " right mind." 

She did not speak now, but, leaning her forehead against 
the door, gazed drearily out into the rain. All the beautiful 
dream of her young love seemed blurred and blotted out by 
mist and tears. 

" Marcelle," whispered Guineveve, taking her hand softly, 
" do not grieve ; all will be well yet ! " 

There was no answer, but a heavy sigh, and the pale firm 
face wore an expression of despairing pain. 

"After all," said Goron, sympathetically, "he may be 
pardoned, for the Emperor wants men. If he would only 
come in — even now ! " 

Marcelle was still silent, and presently she kissed Guin- 
eveve on either cheek, and held out her hands to Goron. 

" I must go now," she said quietly. " Mother will wonder 
where I am." 

Slowly, under the rain that was ever falling heavier and 
heavier, she moved through the streets of the village. She 
saw nothing, heard nothing — she was wrapt in a dream ; 
though to look upon her as she passed, with her set lips and 
her quiet eyes, with her cloak wrapped round her, and her 
foot as firm yet light upon the ground as ever, one would 
scarcely have thought that she had any care. 

Yet the great Sea was rising and crying behind her as she 
went, and before her soul a storm was spreading, more 
terrible than anv se^ 




CHAPTER XX. 

"THE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." 

FEW days after the medical inspection of the 
conscripts, the order to march arrived. They 
were to go from home to Traonili, from 
Traonili to Nantes, and thence, after having 
joined their regiments, right on to the Rhine ! 
The experiences of the previous year had not brought the 
Emperor wisdom, and his struggle with Destiny was about 
to commence on a' more enormous scale than ever. The 
loss of 500,000 men, with all their arms, ammunition, and 
artillery, had not daunted or even discouraged him ; for he 
had merely uplifted his finger, and legions had come to take 
their place. Meantime, Prussia and Russia had shaken 
hands, and the Tugendbund had been formed, and all 
Germany had risen. On the 16th of March previous to the 
Conscription, Prussia had declared war ; and now the patriot- 
ism of the Teuton youth was bursting forth like a volcano. 
At the head of this host stood the bigot Blucher, pupil of the 
great Friedrich. As if this were not enough, Sweden too 
had joined the confederacy against Bonaparte. And already 
the French had evacuated Berlin, and retreated on the Elbe. 
Our story at present, however, concerns not the move- 
ments of great armies, but the fortunes of humble individuals. 
The summons to march had arrived, and the Derval house 
hold was as busy as it was troubled, At last came the eve 



174 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

of the departure, and the conscripts were to set forth, all to- 
gether, at earliest dawn. 

There was a busy gathering that night in the Corporal's 
kitchen. Sergeant Pipriac was there, his little eyes red with 
brandy ; Mikel Grallon and several other friends of the twins 
had gathered to drink a parting glass. The mother was busy 
upstairs, turning over and fondling for the last time, and 
packing up in bundles, her sons' clothes, and weeping bitterly, 
while Marcelle tried in vain to comfort her. In many houses 
that night there was such weeping. 

The twins sat moodily enough, depressed at heart now the 
time had indeed come. Even Uncle Ewen was out of 
spirits ; for, after all, he knew the terrible odds of war, and 
he was very fond of his nephews. 

"One thing you will escape, mes garz" he said, puffing his 
pipe quietly, " and that is, all the hard words of the drill ser- 
geant. You are soldiers ready made ! ' Eyes right,' ' eyes 
left,' ' first position,' ' second position,' ' present arms ' — bah ! 
you know all that by heart, for you were bred in a soldier's 
house. They will be pleased with you for this, and you will 
get on, you will thrive. There is another thing you must 
know. When you are receiving cavalry, don't dig into your 
man in the old way — like this ! — but turn your elbow and 
give a twist of the wrist — like that ! " — here the old burn- 
powder illustrated the action with his stick. " That is the 
trick of it, and you will soon learn." 

" I suppose so," said Gildas gloomily. " The Russians 
and the Prussians can play at that trick too ! "' 

" When you have once smelt powder, it will be all right," 
returned their uncle ; " and the best of it is, you will do that 
at once. There will be no delay, no worry — you are going 
straight to the Rhine — straight into the midst of the fun." 

" I wish I was going too ! " sighed Alain ; "it is like my 
luck." 

" Come, come," cried Hoel, " thou wast pale as death that 
day of the drawing, and would have given thy right arm no; 
to sro." 



' THE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST:- 175 

" I did not know then that .you two were going." 

" Thy turn will come," said the Corporal ; " and thine too, 
Jannick. I will give you another wrinkle, youngsters ! " he 
continued, turning again to the others. " Make friends with 
the corporal, and with the sergeant too, if you can ; a glass 
of brandy goes a long way, and few of them will refuse. 
Don't waste your money on the sutler women, by treating all 
your comrades, like mad conscripts ; but treat the corporal 
if he is willing, and, look you, you will have a friend in need. 
Don't be frightened at first by his gruff ways — address him 
with humility, and he will be satisfied." 

" All right, Uncle Ewen," returned Gildas, holding up a 
glass of brandy. " Here's his health, whoever he is ! " 

" I myself have seen to your shoes, mes gars" continued 
the Corporal. " Two pairs each, but neither new — soft as 
silk to the feet, and the best leather. I have known many 3 
conscript go lame before he reached Nantes by starting in 
new shoes. Then there's your knapsacks ! you will find 
them irksome at first, but the true trick is to strap them tight 
into the small of the back, not to let them hang loose as 
foolish conscripts do." 

Uncle Ewen gave his instructions very quietly ; for the life 
of him, he could not help leeling dull. The company was 
all very sad, and the younger men seemed to regard the twins 
as lambs in fair prospect of being slaughtered. Mikel 
Grallon was the only one that laughed. Boisterously, again 
and again, he clapped the twins on the back, and offered his 
hand, and clinked glasses with them. But drink had no 
effect that night in lighting up their hearts. They knew their 
mother was in tears upstairs, and that Marcelle was grieving 
too. They saw plainly enough that Uncle Ewen's talk was 
forced, and that even Sergeant Pipriac was sorry for them 
in his rough way. They were going to "glory" for the first 
time, and they would a great deal rather have stayed at 
home. 

Late that evening, while the company in the kitchen were 



176 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

drinking, smoking, and talking, Marcelle quietly left the 
house and walked up the road which led out of the village. 

The moon was at the fulhbut vast clouds driven by a high 
wind obscured its rays, and the night was very dark 
Showers of rain fell from time to time, and between the 
showers the moon looked out with a wan wistful face. 

Running rather than walking, with nothing but her ordinary 
indoor costume to shield her from the showers, Marcelle 
rapidly made her way up the hill, passed the church with its 
churchyard and calvary (in passing which she crossed herself 
eagerly), and then, some hundred yards further, turned out 
of the road across an open heath. She was by this time 
breathless with speed, and her eyes looked from side to side 
timidly, as she pursued her way through the darkness. The 
path was obviously familiar to her, and, though she tripped 
several times, she never lost her way. Once, indeed, she 
stopped perplexed ; but just then the moon looked out in its 
fullest brilliance, and she ran on again in the right direction. 

By this time she had left the village a mile and a half 
behind. She was in the midst of a lonely heath thickly 
strewn with grey granite stones, with here and there little 
clusters of dwarf fir trees and wild furze. 

Another shower came, blotting out the light of the moon, 
and the wind moaned very desolately. Still, with quickly 
palpitating heart, Marcelle crept on. When the moonlight 
appeared again in full brightness, she had found what she 
sought. 

Towering above in the moon's rays was a colossal granite 
Cross, looking up to which she could see the body of the 
Christ, drooping the head and gazing into the gloom. 
Clustering all below it were wild shrubs, monstrous weeds, 
darnel and nettle and foxglove as high as a man's breast. 

Marcelle trembled as she gazed up, crossing herself rapidly. 
Then creeping forward to the base of the Cross, she found a 
basin of blood-red granite, cracked across, but still capable 
of holding the rain and dew. It was brimful from the recent 
showers, and its contents resembled blood. 



" THE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST:- 177 

Now, this solitary basin, called in the dialect of the country 
the " Pool of the Blood of Christ," was very holy in the eyes 
of the villagers — more holy even than the wells for holy 
water in the church itself; for surely as the dews of Heaven 
fell into that basin they possessed the property of Christ's 
own blood, and could heal sickness where the sick one had 
much faith. That was not all. It was a common supersti- 
tion that if a man or woman went thither when the moon 
was full, and dipped into the basin any portion of any article 
of attire or of anything to be worn about the body, that 
portion of inert matter would become " blessed," and have 
the power of warding off danger and even death from the 
wearer. Only one condition was attached to this blessing — 
that the "dipping" must be done in complete solitude and 
be kept a secret from all other living beings. 

Creeping forward, and kneeling on her knees, despite the 
rank weeds that clustered round her, Marcelle said a short 
prayer ; then, drawing from her breast two medals, she 
passed both into her right hand, and dropped them softly 
into the granite basin. Trembling with awe, she closed her 
eyes and repeated a prayer for the occasion, mentioning as 
she did so the names of Hoel and Gildas. 

When she had finished she again slipped in her white 
hand and drew the medals forth. 

" Christ be with me ! " she said in Breton, thrusting them 
eagerly into her bosom. 

The medals were of copper, and each as large as a crown- 
piece. They had been given to her long ago by the Corporal, 
and she had religiously preserved them ; but now, when the 
twins were going away, she meant to give them one each, 
without explaining, of course, that they possessed a special 
"charm." They were handsome perforated medals, and, 
attached to a string, could be hung unseen over the heart. 
On one side of each was the laurelled image of the Empercr ; 
on the other, the glimpse of a bloody battle, with the inscrip- 
tion—" AUSTERLITZ." 

Her excitement had been great, and directly her task was 



i 



178 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

over she moved away. Suddenly, ere she had gone many 
yards, she heard a sound of footsteps behind her. 

She turned again sharply, but the darkness was great and 
she saw nothing. Crossing herself again, she began to 
run. 

That moment she again heard the footsteps behind her. 

She stopped in terror and looked back. The moon gleamed 
out for an instant, and she could distinctly perceive a figure, 
earthly or unearthly, following close at her back. 

A less courageous girl, under the tension of such emotions 
as Marcelle had felt that night, would have fainted ; indeed, 
there was not another woman, and scarcely a man, in Krom- 
laix who would have ventured alone at such an hour, as she 
had done, to the "Pool of the Blood of Christ." Marcelle 
was terror-stricken, but she still retained her senses. Seeing 
the figure approaching, she fled again. 

But the figure was as fleet as she, and she heard its foot- 
steps coming behind her, nearer and nearer ; she ran and ran 
till her breath failed ; the feet came nearer and nearer, and she 
could hear a heavy breathing behind her back. 

With a tremendous effort she turned, determined to face 
her ghostly pursuer. Close to her, with his face gleaming 
white in the moon, was a man, and before she could see 
him clearly he spoke— in a low voice he uttered her name. 

" Marcelle ! " 

She knew the voice instantly as that of her lover ; yet, 
strange to say, though she had longed and prayed for this 
meeting, she shrank away, and made no answer. The moon 
came out brightly and illumined his figure from head to foot. 
Head and feet were bare, his form looked strange and dis- 
torted, the hair fell in wild masses about his face. He loomed 
before her like a tall phantom, and his voice sounded hollow 
and strange. 

" Marcelle ! — have you forgotten me ? Yes, it is I ; — and 
you are afraid ! " 

" I am not afraid," answered Marcelle, recovering herself j 
" but you startled me — I thought it was a ghost." 



•« THE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST* 179 

" I was resting yonder, and I saw you come to the ' Pool 
of the Blood of Christ ! ' " 

Marcelle's reply was characteristic. 

" You saw me ! Then you have broken my charm." 

"Not at all," answered Rohan, very coldly. "I do not 
know your errand, and I could not see you when you knelt. 
It is a cold night for you to be abroad. There, you shiver — ■ 
hasten home." 

He spoke as if there was nothing between them, as if he 
were any stranger advising another ; his voice rang cold and 
clear. She answered in the same tone. 

" Hoel and Gildas are going to the wars to-morrow, and 
that is what brought me here. They will wonder why I stay 
so long." 

She made a movement as if to go. He did not stir a step 
to follow her. She turned her face again. 

" It is strange to see you here ; I thought you were far 
away. They are looking for you down there." 

Rohan nodded. " I know it." 

" There is a watch upon your mother's house day and 
night, and upon ours too. There are gendarmes from St. 
Gurlott in the village, with Pipriac at their head. There is a 
paper posted up on the houses, and your name is upon it ; 
and there is a reward." 

" I know that also." 

Still so cold and calm. He stood moveless, looking upon 
her as if upon the tomb of a lost love. She could not bear 
it any longer. Casting away her mad pretence of indiffer- 
ence, she sprang forward and threw her arms around his 
neck. 

" Rohan ! Rohan ! why do you speak to me like that ? " 

He did not resist her, but softly disengaged her arms, as 
she continued — 

" We did not know what had happened— I have been 
heart-broken — Gildas and Hoel are going. They are mad 
against thee, all of them. It is terrible ! " 

"But thou J n 



180 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The endearing second personal pronoun was in requisition 
at last. 

" And I — my Rohan, I have always been on thy side. 
They said thou wast afraid, but I told them they spoke falsely. 
They are all angry with me for defending thee. Kiss me, 
my Rohan! Wilt thou not kiss me?" — and after his cold 
lips came down and were quite close to hers, she cried, " Ah, 
my Rohan, I knew thou wouldst be wise. It is not too late, 
and thou wilt be forgiven if thou but march with the rest. 
Come down, come down ! Ah, thank God that it is so ! 
Uncle Ewen will intercede, and Gildas and Hoel will shake 
hands ; it will be all well ! " 

She looked up in his face with passionate confidence and 
hope, and as she finished, kissed him again with her warm 
ripe lips. With those white arms around his neck, with that 
fond bosom heaving against his own, he stood aghast. 

" Marcelle, Marcelle ! " he cried in a heart-broken voice. 

" My Rohan ! " 

"Do you not understand yet t My God, will you not 
understand ? It is not that — it is not that I have changed 
my mind. I cannot come down ; I will never give myself 
up, alive! " 

There were no warm arms around him now. Marcelle had 
drawn back amazed. 

" Why, then, have you come back to Kromlaix ? " 

" To see thee ! To speak to thee once more, whether I 
live or die I " 

Trembling and crying, Marcelle took both his hands in 
hers. His were icy cold. 

" Thou wilt come down ! For my sake, for thy Marcelle ! 
Ah, do not break my heart — do not let me hear them call 
thee coward. And if not for my sake, for thine own. Thou 
canst not escape them ; they will be after thee day and 
night ; thou wilt die. Mother of God, Son of God ! — yes, 
die ! My Rohan, the Emperor will be good fco thee — come 
down ! " 

" And go to the war ?" 



"7 HE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." 1S1 

"What then? Thou wilt come back like Uncle Ewen ; 
all will look up to thee, and know thee for a brave man." 

" And thou ?" 

" Wilt be thy wife, my Rohan ! I swear it, dear. I will 
love thee, I will love thee." 

" But if I die ?" 

u Then I will love thee more, and I will wear crape upon 
my arm till I am old, and I will never wed another man. 
Thou wilt have died, my brave soldier, fighting for the Em- 
peror. Thou wilt wait for me in Heaven, and I shall come 
to thee and kiss thee there." 

There was passion enough in her voice, in her words, and 
in her kiss, to have swept away like a torrent any common 
man's resolve. Her tones, her looks, her living frame, al] 
spoke, all were eloquent in Love's name, as she clung around 
him and drew him on. He shook before her impetuous 
appeal ; his heart rose, his head swam, and his eyes looked 
wildly up to the cloudy moonlit heaven ; but he was firm. 

" Marcelle, it is impossible. I cannot go !" 

" Rohan, Rohan !" 

He tottered as if overpowered, and held his hand upon his 
heart. His whole frame trembled ; he seemed no longer a 
strong man, but a shivering affrighted creature. Before he 
knew it he had sunk upon his knees. 

" I cannot go — it is an oath. Farewell !" 

She looked at him fixedly, as if to read his very soul. A 
terrible thought had flashed upon her. 

" Rohan, speak ! for God's sake, stand up and speak ! Is 
it true what they say — that you are afraid?" 

He rose to his feet and looked at her strangely. 

" Speak, Rohan !" 

" Yes, it is true." 

" That you are afraid ! That you are a " 

" It is all true," he answered. Had it been day she might 
have seen a strange smile on his tortured face. " I will not 
serve the Emperor, I will not go to war, because — well, 
because I am afraid." 

N 



182 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

He did not explain his fear, for, had he done so, she could 
not have comprehended. He continued — 

" It is best that you should understand at once, for ever, 
that I will never fight as soldiers fight ; that is against my 
heart ; and that I am all, perhaps, that you say. Were it 
otherwise, Marcelle, I think your love might tempt me ; but 
I have not the courage to do what you bid me. There, you 
are shivering — it is so cold. Hasten home ! " 

Her heart seemed broken now. Not in anger, not in 
wrath, did she turn upon him ; she stabbed him with the 
crueller pain of tears. In those regions, where physical dar- 
ing is a man's mightiest dower, a coward is baser than a 
worm, fouller than a leper of the old times. And she had 
loved a coward ! 

Had she been wiser in the world, she might have guessed 
that he who brands himself with an ill name is not always 
the fittest to bear it. But she was not wise, and his own 
confession, corroborating the assertion of her kinsmen, 
appalled her. 

Almost unconsciously, still in tears, she was creeping away. 

" Marcelle, will you not give me your hand again ? Will 
you not say good-bye ?" 

She paused, but said nothing. He seized her hands, and 
kissed her softly on either cheek. 

" Farewell, Marcelle ! Thou canst not understand, and I 
do not blame thee ; but if evil comes to me, do not think of 
me in anger. Perhaps God will be good, and some day you 
may think better of me. Farewell, farewell !" 

He had turned away sobbing, when she caught him by the 
arm, crying passionately — 

" They will find thee ; they will kill thee — that will be 
worse ! Where art thou going ? Where wilt thou fly ?" 

" God will help me to a refuge, and I do not think they 
will find me. Keep me in thy heart !" 

Then he was gone indeed. 

An hour after that strange meeting: Marcelle was back in 



"THE POOL OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." 183 

the cottage trying to comfort her mother. It was midnight 
when Hoel and Gildas got into bed and fell into heavy sleep. 
They were to rise before dawn. The Corporal sat by the 
kitchen-fire, pipe in mouth. He was to remain up till the 
hour for summoning his nephews, and then afterwards to see 
them a short distance upon the road. 

Meantime Rohan Gwenfern was wandering through the 
darkness like a dreary spirit of the night. Shaken to the 
soul by that last interview with her he held dearest in all the 
world, yet as resolved as ever in his despairing resistance 
against an evil fate in which she seemed arrayed against 
him, he flitted to and fro, he scarce knew whither. 

The passionate love in his heart fought fiercely against the 
cold ideal in his soul. He could feel Marcelle's embraces 
still ; for kisses less sweet, he knew, many a man would have 
given his salvation. 

He had not slept for two nights and days, during which he 
had been creeping back to Kromlaix. The rain was still 
falling, and with every shower the night seemed to grow 
darker. Sick and wearied out, he crept back to the CROSS, 
and there, resting his head against the stone, partially shel- 
tered from the rain by the stone figure above, and entirely 
hidden by the weeds and furze which rose above his head, 
he fell into a heavy sleep. 

And as he slept he dreamed a dream. 




CHAPTER XXI. 

THE DREAM. 

fE seemed, in his dream, to be still lying on the 
spot where he had fallen asleep, with his eyes 
fixed on the crucified figure above him. All 
was very dark around and over him ; the 
wind moaned, and the rain still fell heavily on 
the ground and plashed drearily into the granite pool. He 
lay crouching among the wet weeds and grasses, watching 
and listening in fascination for he knew not what. 

His heart was beating madly, every pulse in his frame was 
thrilling ; for he had been startled by a strange movement 
above him, by a supernatural sound. 

He listened more intently, and this time his ears were 
startled by a low moan as of a human mouth. It came 
again ; — and behold, to his horror and terror, the figure on 
the Cross was moving its head from side to side. Not as if 
in pain, not as if wholly in consciousness, but as a sleeper 
moves his head, slowly awakening from a heavy sleep. 

The heart of Rohan failed within him, a sense as of death 
stole over him. He would have fled, but his limbs refused 
to obey his will. He sought to utter a cry, but the sound 
was frozen in his throat. For a moment, as it seamed, he 
became unconscious. When he looked again, the Cross 
above was empty, and the figure was standing at the foot ! 
The rain ceased, the wind grew low, and through parting 



TffR Z>R£AM. 185 

clouds the moon looked down. Black against the moonlight 
loomed the Cross ; while at its foot, glimmering like marble, 
stood the Christ. 

His eyes were open now, gazing straight down at the 
crouching form of Rohan ; and his arms and limbs moved, 
and from his lips there came a breath ; and he said in a low 
voice, " Rise !" 

The fascinated body of Rohan obeyed that diviner will, 
and rose at once and stood erect ; and at that moment 
Rohan felt all his fear fall from him, and he gazed up into 
the Face, but spoke no word. And the Face stilled the 
troubled waters of his heart with its beauty, as moonlight 
stills the sea. He would fain have fallen again and worshipped, 
not in terror now, but in joy. 

Then the Christ said, " Follow me ! " 

As a spirit moves, scarce touching the earth, he descended 
from the foot of the Cross, and moved silently along. As a 
man follows a ghost, fearful to lose the vision, yet afraid to 
approach too near, Rohan followed. 

The night was black, but a dim light ran before them on 
the ground. Silently they passed along, and swiftly ; for it 
seemed to Rohan, in his dream, that he moved with no voli- 
tion of his own, but as if upborne by invisible hands that 
helped him on ; and the woods and fields seemed moving by, 
like clouds drifting before the wind, and the earth beneath 
their feet swept past them like a wind-blown sea. 

Now conscious, now unconscious, as it seemed, Rohan 
followed ; for at times his senses seemed flown and his eyes 
closed ; but ever on opening his eyes he saw the white 
Christ gliding on before him, pausing ever and anon to gaze 
round, with the pallid moonlight on His face, and with eyes 
divine to beckon him on. 

Time trembles into eternity during sleep — there is no count 
of mundane minutes ; and Rohan, in his dream, seemed to 
follow his Guide for hours and hours and hours. Through 
the hearts of lonely woods, over the summits of moonlit hills, 



186 THE SHADOW OF THE SIVORD. 

past spectral rivers gleaming in the moon, by solitary waters 
hushed as death, through villages asleep in the green hollows. 
Wheresoever they went all slumbered ; the eyes of all the 
Earth were sealed. 

Then they passed through the darkened streets of towns, 
creeping along in the house-shadows till they emerged again 
upon the open moonlit plains. 

At last, passing through the wide paths of a cultivated 
wood, and crossing an open space where fountains were 
leaping, the Figure paused before a great building with 
windows of glass gleaming in the moon. All around it the 
greensward stretched, and flowers sprang, and fountains 
leaped, but it stood very cold and still. 

The Figure passed on and stood before the door, uplifting 
his hand. The door opened and he entered in, and Rohan 
followed close behind. 

The corridors were dark as death, but the strange shining 
light that ran before the Spirit's feet made all things visible 
within. They passed through many rooms — some vast and 
dim, tenanted only by the solitary moon-ray ; others dark 
and curtained, full of the low breathing of men or women 
in sleep — along silent passages where the wind wailed low at 
their coming ; up ghostly stairs with faces of antique paint- 
ing glimmering from the walls, and marble busts and statues 
gleaming through the dusk. Nothing stirred, nothing woke ; 
sleep like moonlight breathed everywhere, trembling amid 
darkness. And though their feet fell on hollow corridors and 
empty floors, their passing awoke no reverberation ; but the 
doors flew open silently, and the sleepers did not stir on their 
pillows ; and the only sound was the low cry of the winds in 
the silent courts. 

Again the dream faded, and Rohan's consciousness seemed 
to die away. When the eyes of his soul opened again, he 
was crouching in the shadow of a curtained door, and tower- 
ing erect close to him, drawing back the curtains with a 
white hand, stood the Christ, pointing. 



THE DREAM. 187 

Before them, with his back to them, writing busily at a 
table, sat a Man. The room in which he wrote was an ante- 
chamber, and through the open dcor of the inner room could 
be seen a heavily curtained bed. On the table stood a lamp, 
casting down the rays upon the papers before him, and leav- 
ing all the rest of the chamber dim. 

It seemed as if all Rohan's heart hungered to see the face 
of this Man ; but it remained hidden, bent over the table. 
Hours seemed to pass ; he did not stir. 

He was partly undressed for sleep, but though all the 
world rested, he still wrote and worked. Rohan's soul sick- 
ened. It seemed terrible to behold that one Form awake 
and alone, while all the heart of creation was hushed and 
still. 

Again the dream faded. When Rohan looked once more 
the room was empty ; but the lamp still burnt on the table, 
though the shape of the Man was gone. 

He turned his eyes upward and met the divine orbs of his 
Guide, who pointed to the table and formed with His lips, 
rather than uttered with His breath, this one word, " Read ! " 

He crossed the chamber, he bent above the table. It was 
covered with papers written in a clear hand, but his eyes saw 
one paper only, on which the ink was scarcely dry, and it 
contained only two words, his own name — " ROHAN GWEN- 
FERN." 

As he read, in his dream, he felt the confused sick horror 
of a man half stunned. He seemed to understand darkly 
that his name so written meant something fatal and dreadful, 
yet he could not sufficiently grasp the sense of how or why : 
all he seemed to know was the awfulness of this one Man, 
awake when all creation slept, writing that name down as if 
for doom ; yet for what doom Rohan knew not, any more 
than he knew the likeness of the Man. Nevertheless, horror 
possessed him, and he fell on his knees, uplooking in the face 
of his Guide, and dumbly entreating help from some calamity 
he could not understand. But during a sudden flash of con- 



l88 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

sciousness the Christ had passed into the inner chamber, ana 
had drawn back the heavy curtain of the bed therein ; and lo ! 
Rohan saw clearly, as if in moonlight, the face of the Man, 
though it was now calm in sleep. He crept forward hunger- 
ing on the face ; and he knew it. White as marble, with 
closed cold lids and lips still firm in rest ; a stony face — such 
as he had often pictured it waking, such as he had seen 
on coins and medals of metal, and in rude pictures hung on 
cottage walls ; — the face of the great Emperor. 

And the Emperor slept so soundly, that not even his 
breathing could be heard in the chamber ; for as Rohan 
crept closer, with fascinated eyes, the lineaments of the face 
grew more fixed in their marble pallor, so that Rohan 
thought in his dream, " He does not sleep, but is dead. -- ' 
And one hand on the coverlet looked liked marble too : a 
white hand like a woman's, a small hand clenched like a 
sleeping child's. 

In that moment of wonder he turned his eyes, and found 
himself alone. 

The figure of the Christ had disappeared. The lamp still 
burned in the outer chamber, but more dimly. He was alone 
by the bed of the great Emperor, watching, and shivering 
from head to foot. 

Strangely enough, the supernatural presence had been a 
source of strength. No sooner had it disappeared than an 
awful sense of terror and helplessness possessed him, and he 
would have flown ; but he could not move — he could not turn 
his eyes away. To be there alone with the terrible Master of 
his life — to be crouching there and seeing the Emperor 
lying as if dead — was too much for his soul to bear ; he 
struggled and struggled in despair and dread, and at last in 
the agony of his dream, he uttered a wild cry. The 
Emperor did not stir, but in a moment the cry was answered 
from distant rooms — there was a sound of voices, a tramp of 
feet, a rushing to and fro ; he tried ifain to fly, but was 
still helpless, as the feet came nearer and nearer ; and while 
the doors of the ante-chamber were burst open, and a 



THE DREAM, 189 

haggard light of cruel faces came in, and soldiers rushed 
upon him with flashing swords to take his life, he swooned 
away — and woke. 

He was lying where he had cast himself down, among the 
great weeds at the Cross's foot ; the dawn was just breaking, 
and the air was very cold, and the stone Christ hung above 
him, drooping its heavy head, wet with the long night's rain. 

He was about to rise to his feet and crawl away to some 
securer shelter, when a sound of voices broke upon his ears, 
and a tramp of coming feet. Then he remembered how 
near he was to the highway, and casting himself flat down 
among the weeds, he lay hidden and still. 

The feet came nearer ; the voices were singing a familiar 
song : 

" Le matin quand je m'eveille, 
Je vois mon Empereur, — 
I) est doux a merveille 1" 

Rohan shivered as he lay hidden, for he distinctly recog- 
nised the voices of Hoel and Gildas Derval. There was a 
pause on the road, a sudden silence ; then another voice, 
in the unmistakable tones of the old Corporal, cried, 
" Forward ! " 

The tramp of feet began again, the voices renewed their 
singing. All passed close by the Cross, but down in the 
hollow of the road. Rohan did not stir till every sound of 
foot or voice had died. The conscripts of Kromlaix, 
escorted out of the village by many of their friends and 
fellow villagers, were on their way by dawn to join the 
armies of the Emperor on the banks of the far-off Rhine. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



MIKEL GRALLON. 



JS g- ^S aJ ^[ ROM that day forth, for many days and weeks, 
X ISm^^?! ^ e ^ e °^ Rohan Gwenfern remained un- 
known. Search was made for him high and 
low, his name was proclaimed through every 
village for many miles around, blood-money 
was offered for his apprehension alive or dead — but all with- 
out avail. The last occasion on which he had been pub- 
licly seen was on that memorable night of the Conscription, 
when he made his appeal to Father Rolland — whose opinion, 
by the way, was emphatically to the effect that Rohan had 
committed suicide. Only one person perhaps knew better, 
and that was Marcelle Derval. Not one word did she 
breathe, however, of the meeting under the Cross on the 
night before the departure of the conscripts. 

On this subject of Rohan the Corporal was adamant, and 
he lost no opportunity of uttering his denunciations. 
Marcelle no longer protested, for she felt that all was over, 
since Rohan was either mad or worse than mad ; and when 
Uncle Ewen averred that, while all the other conscripts of 
Kromlaix were good men and true, Rohan Gwenfern was 
a wretch and a coward, she could not utter one word in 
answer — for had not Rohan confessed with his own lips that 
he was afraid, and had she not seen in his face with her own 
eyes the sick horror a physical coward must feel ? 



MIKEL GRALLON. 191 

It was terrible to think of — it was worse even than death 
itself! Her passion had fed itself upon his glorious man- 
hood, on his mighty physical strength and beauty, on the 
power and dignity of his nature, and even on his prowess in 
games of skill and courage ; she had exulted in him and 
gloried in him as even feeble women exult and glory in what 
is strong ; and now / It was almost inconceivable to think 
that he was of despicable fibre even as compared with Hoel, 
who she knew was timid, and Gildas, who she confessed to 
herself was stupid. All that leonine look had meant nothing, 
after all ! Even a cripple on a crutch, if beckoned by the 
Emperor, would have behaved more nobly. Better, she 
thought, a thousand times better, that Rohan had fallen 
from the dizziest crag of Kromlaix, and been mourned as a 
true man, and remembered by all the youth of these shores 
as " over brave." 

Ye,t frequently, as these thoughts passed through her fiery 
brain, Marcelle felt her own conscience pleading against 
her ; for never until that last meeting had she felt so strongly 
the distance of Rohan's soul from her own, and never since 
had she failed to say to herself at times, " Perhaps I do 
not understand." Something in the looks, the words, made 
her feel, as she had often felt before, the influence of a strong 
moral nature asserting itself steadfastly and fearlessly, yet 
most lovingly, against her prejudice and her ignorance. 
And this feeling awoke fear and re-created love, for it re- 
clothed Rohan in the strength that women seek. 

She could better bear to think him wicked and mad — to 
look upon him as a fierce enemy of her convictions, and of 
the great Imperial cause — than to conceive him a coward 
pure and simple. If the sure conviction of that had lasted 
for one whole day, we verily believe that Marcelle's love 
would have turned to repulsion, that her hand would almost 
have been ready to strike her lover down. 

Well, coward or choitan, or both, he had disappeared, and 
if he lived, which many doubted, no man knew where he 
was hiding. The nose of Sergeant Pipriac, reddened with 



192 THE SHADctV OF 7 HE SWORD. 

brandy but keen as an old hound's, could find no scent ol 
the fox in or out of the village. A hundred spies were 
ready to claim the reward, but no opportunity came. At 
last the aire's private suspicions spread into general certainty, 
and it was everywhere averred that Rohan Gwenfern had 
made away with himself, either by leaping from one of the 
high cliffs, or by drowning himself in the sea. As weeks 
passed by and no traces of the fugitive were found, even 
Marcelle began to fear the worst, and her silent reproaches 
died away in a nameless dread. 

But she had her mother to comfort — the work of the house 
to do — the Fountain to visit — and none of her hours were 
idle. Had she been able to sit like a lady of romance, with 
her hands folded before her and her eyes fixed in a dream, 
her woe would have consumed her utterly ; but as it was she 
was saved by work. Never too sadly introspective,- she now 
looked out upon her pain like a courageous creature. 
Though her cheek was pale and her eye often dim, her step 
upon the ground was firm as ever. Her heart and lips 
were silent of their grief. Only when she stole down to 
Mother Gwenfern to whisper of Rohan, or when she placed 
her poor weeping head in the lap of Guineveve, did the 
trouble of her soul find relief. 

An irritating but salutary distraction came at this period 
in the conduct of Mikel Grallon. Grallon, whom she had 
more than once suspected of an attachment for herself, 
began now to show unmistakable indications of a settled 
design. True, all he did was to drop in of a night and 
smoke with the Corporal, to bring little presents of fresh fish 
to the widow, and to listen humbly hour after hour to the 
Corporal's stories ; but Marcelle, well skilled in the sociol- 
ogy of Kromlaix, knew well that such conduct meant mis- 
chief, or in other words matrimony. It was not etiquette in 
Kromlaix for a bachelor to address himself directly to the 
maiden of his selection ; that was the last stage of courtship, 
the preliminaries consisting of civilities to the elders of the 
house, a very prosaic account of his own worldly possessions, 



MIKEL GRALLON. 193 

and a close inquiry into the amount of the bride's dower. 
Now, Grallon was a flourishing man, belonging to a flourish- 
ing family. He was the captain of a boat of his own, and he 
reaped the harvest of the sea with no common skill. His 
morals were unexceptionable, though morals of course were 
a minor matter, and he was in all other respects an eligible 
match. 

He was not a pleasant person, however, this Mikel 
Grallon. His thin tight lips, his small keen eyes, his narrow 
forehead and eyebrows closely set together, indicated a 
peculiar and acquisitive character ; his head, set on broad 
shoulders, was too small for symmetry ; and though his 
bright weather-beaten cheek betokened health and strength, 
he lacked the open expression of less sophisticated fisher- 
men. His features, indeed, resembled folded leaves rather 
than an open flower ; for the wind, which blows into open 
bloom the faces of so many men who sail the sea, had only 
shut these lineaments tighter together, so that no look what- 
ever of the hidden soul shone directly out of them. He went 
about with a smile — the smile of secrecy, and of satisfaction 
that his secrets were so well kept. 

The great characteristic of the man was his silent perti- 
nacity. In whatever he did, he spared no pains to insure 
success ; and when he had set his heart upon an object, the 
peregrine in its pursuit was not more steady. 

And so when he began to "woo," Marcelle at once took 
the alarm ; and although his " wooing " consisted only of a 
visit two or three nights a week, during which he scarcely 
exchanged a word with herself, she knew well what his visits 
portended. Every evening, when he dropped in, she tried 
to make some excuse for leaving the house, and when she 
was constrained to stay she moved about in feverish 
malaise ; for the man's two steadfast eyes watched her with 
a dumb fascination, and with an admiration there was no 
mistaking. 

Jannick, who saw how matters stood, found a good butt 
for his jests in Grallon, and was not altogethei to be subdued 



194 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

even by gifts of new ribbons for the binion. He loved to 
tease Marcelle on the subject of the fisherman's passion. 

Strange to say, he no longer met with the fiery indignation 
which had often before been the reward of his impertinence. 

Marcelle neither replied nor heeded, only her cheek went 
a little paler, her lip quivered a little more. A weight was 
upon her heart, a horrible fear and despair. She was listen- 
ing for a voice out of the sea or from the grave, and even in 
her sleep she listened — but the voice never came. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



CORPORAL DERVAL GALLOPS HIS HOBBY. 




ORPORAL Derval was smoking rapidly, his 
face flushed all over to the crimson of a cock's 
comb, his black eyes burning, the pulses beat- 
ing in his temples like a roll of drums, and 
his thoughts far away. As the grey smoke 
rolled before his eyes it became like the smoke of cannon, 
and through its mist he saw — not the interior of his Breton 
home, with the faces of the astonished group around him — 
but a visionary battle-plain, where a familiar figure, in 
weather-beaten hat and grey overcoat, sat, with a heavy 
head sunk deep between his shoulders, watching the fight 
from his saddle with the stony calmness of an equestrian 
statue. 

The voice of the little cure, who was sitting at the fireside, 
called him back to the common day. 
" Corporal Derval ! " 

The Corporal started, drew his pipe out of his mouth, and 
straightened himself to " attention.'' So doing, he became 
again conscious of his surroundings. A bright fire burnt 
upon the hearth, and the door was carefully closed, — for a 
wild cold wind was blowing. Mother Derval was spinning 
in a corner, and near her, sewing, sat Marcelle. Toasting 
his little fat toes by the fire sat the cure, smoking also, with 
his throat-band loosened, and a glass of c>rn fcnamidy at his 



196 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

elbow. Alain and Jannick — the remnant of the Maccabees 
— were seated in various attitudes about the chamber ; and 
leaning against the wall, not far from Marcelle, in his fisher- 
man's costume, and with complexion coloured a light tobacco 
brown by constant exposure on the sea, was Mikel Grallon. 

Though the season was early summer, they were holding 
a sort oiveillee, or fireside gathering, and the old Corporal, 
as usual, had been enacting Sir Oracle. The little cure had 
drawn his pipe from his mouth, and was shrugging his 
shoulders in protestation, 

" But see, my Corporal, his treatment of our Holy Father 
himself, the Pope of Rome ! " 

The Corporal knitted his brows and puffed vigorously 
again. All looked at him as if curious to hear his reply, the 
mother with a little doubtful sigh. 

The Corporal was soon prepared. 

" Pardon me, nisieu le cure", you do not understand. All 
that is an arrangement between the Emperor and the Holy 
Father ! There are some who say the Emperor threw His 
Holiness into a dungeon, and fed him on bread and water. 
Fools ! — His Holiness dwelt in a palace, and fed off silver 
and gold, and was honoured as a saint. Do not mistake, 
visieii le cure j the Emperor is not profane. He fears God, 
Do I not know it, I who speak? Have I not seen with my 
own eyes, heard with my own ears ? He is God-fearing, the 
Emperor ; and he is sent by God to be the scourge of the 
enemies of France." 

Mikel Grallon nodded approval. 

" Right, Uncle Ewen ! " he exclaimed : " he has made them 
dance, those Germans and those English ! " 

The Corporal, without turning his head, continued to 
address the cure, who was sipping his brandy with the air of 
a man convinced against his will and of his own opinion still. 
But the priest, good fellow ! had few strong convictions of 
any kind, and hated polemics, especially at the fireside ; so 
he contradicted no longer. 

"You do not know it, you others," puisued the veteran ; 



CORPORAL DERVAL GALLOPS HLS HOBBY. 197 

"but it is a grand thing to look on a man like that — to look 
upon him — to talk with him — to feel his breath about you ! " 

" As you have done, Corporal ! " said the priest approv- 
ingly. 

Marcelle looked at her uncle with a bright smile of admir- 
ation. Every other eye was upon him. 

" As I have done ! " said the veteran proudly, and with no 
shame in his pride. " Yes, I who stand here ! I have been 
with him face to face, looking in his eyes, as I do now in 
yours, Father Rolland ! First at Cismone,then twice again. 
I can see him now ; I can hear his voice as plain as I hear 
yours. Sometimes I hear it sleeping, and I leap up and feel 
for my gun, and look up, fancying I see the stars above me 
out over the open camp. I think if he came and spoke again 
like that above me, I should waken in my grave." 

His voice sank very low now, and his keen eye, sheathed 
like an eagle's half asleep, looked softly on the fire. The turf 
was bright crimson, and as it shifted and changed he saw in 
it forms moving and faces flushing, like some spectral army 
passing in a dream. 

There was a pause. Presently, to relieve the excitement 
of his feelings, the Corporal took from the fire a bright " coal" 
of turf, and, puffing vigorously, applied it to the bowl of his 
pipe, which had gone out. 

Clearing his throat and thinning with his plump little hand 
the cloud of smoke which he himself was blowing, the cure 
spoke again — 

" Corporal Derval ! " 

The veteran, still smoking, turned his eye quietly on the 
speaker, and listened attentively. 

" How many years ago was that little affair of Cismone ? " 

The Corporal's black eyes blazed, and a delighted smile 
overspread his grim features. Pausing deliberately, he set 
his pipe down upon the little chimney-piece, close to a tiny 
chira altar and several china casts of the Saints ; next, lean- 
ing forward, he carefully poked the fire with his wooden leg ; 
?.nd finally, turning round again to the priest, knitting his 

o 



I9*> WE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

brows as if engaged in abstruse calculation, and rubbing his, 
hands hard together, he replied in a voice that might have 
been heard by a whole regiment — 

" It was the night of the seventeenth of September, in the 
year seventeen hundred and ninety-six." 

If the words had been a spell, the company could not have 
looked more thrilled and awed. To be quite candid, we 
must admit that the announcement was a familiar one, and 
had been made, with its accompanying veracious narrative, 
in the same spot and in the same way many and many a 
night before. But some stories are ever new, and this was 
one of them. Uncle E wen's delicious assumption that he 
was retailing a novelty, the never-failing murmurs of pleased 
incredulity and astonishment for which he waited at every 
important turn in the incidents, the enthusiasm of the speaker 
and the rapt attention of all present, made the occasion 
always illustrious. Those who knew Uncle Ewen and had 
not heard his anecdote of Cismone knew him but little — had 
indeed never been invited to the confidences of his warlike 
bosom. Every one present that night had heard it a dozen 
times, yet each one present — with the exception, perhaps, of 
Mikel Grallon, who looked a little bored, and kept his eyes 
amorously fixed on Marcelle — seemed eager to hear it again. 

Alain Derval listened with gloomy interest, but the face of 
Jannick was bright and cheerful ; for he, of course, had no 
dread of the Conscription, which was still overshadowing the 
heart of his grown-up brother. The mother ceased her 
spinning. The little cure nodded his head, like a water-wag- 
tail standing on the ground. Marcelle dropped her sewing 
into her lap, and gazed, with a look of eager emotion and ex- 
pectation, at her uncle. 

The grenadier, full of that rarest of all emotions — the pride 
of a prophet who is reverenced in his own country — con- 
tinued clearly, and as he spoke the figures around him again 
and again faded, and his eye searched the distance in a sort 
of waking dr n i . 

" We left Trent on the sixteenth, Father Rolland ; — it was 



CORPORAL DERVAL GAA^OfS 77/? HOBB>. 199 

in the grey of the dawn. It was a long march, ten leagues 
of infernal country ; a forced move, you see. In the evening 
we reached a village, — the name I have forgotten, but a 
quaint little village on a hill. That night we were so weary 
that we could not have kept awake, only the word had run 
along the lines that the Emperor — ah, he was only a general 
then ! — that General Bonaparte was with us. Well, we knew 
that it was true, for we could feel him, we could swear that he 
was near. In the hospitals, father, the doctor goes from bed to 
bed, touches the pulses — so ! — and says, ' Here is fever — 
here is health — here is death.' As he comes, the wounded 
look up and brighten ; as he goes, they sink back and groan. 
All the wards feel him far off — every heart beats quicker at 
his coming, and slower at his going. Well, that is the way 
with the army ; its pulses were beating all along the lines ; 
you would say, ' The General is coming — he is near — he is 
here — he is gone — he is ten leagues away ! ' " 

He paused for breath, and Mother Derval heaved a heavy 
sigh. Poor heart ! she was not thinking of the Emperor, but 
of her two great sons, already with the army. The Corporal 
heard a sigh, and hurried on — 

" The moon was still up when we marched again in the 
morning. We were in three columns like three big winds of 
the equinox, and we rushed down on the Austrians, who 
were strongly posted at Primolano. My God, but we caught 
them napping — we cut our way into them. Mikel Grallon, 
you have seen a boat run down ?— Smash ! that was the style. 
Our cavalry cut off the retreat, and thousands laid down 
their arms. That would have been enough for an ordinary 
general, but the Little Corporal was not content. Forward ! 
he gave the word. Wurmser was at Bassano, and Mezaros 
was marching on Verona. We pushed on at bayonet point 
till we reached Cismone. It was night, and we were tired 
out ; so when we got the word to halt, it was welcome news." 
Here Uncle Ewen suited the action to the word, and halted 
again. The priest nodded approvingly through his cloud of 
smoke. 



2oO THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Now, I had a comrade in those days — a tall fellow, with 
a cast in his eye, but as good as gold — and his name was 
Jacques Monier, and he was born inland on the Rhone. We 
were like brothers ; we shared bite and sup, and many a night 
lay in each other's arms for warmth. Well, on that night of 
the seventeenth, Jacques was lying with his feet to the fire 
we had kindled on the bare ground, and I had gone to find 
water. When I returned Jacques was standing on his feet, 
holding in his hand half a loaf of black bread, and beside 
him, in the light of the fire, stood — whom, think you? — the 
General himself. He was splashed from head to foot with 
mud and rain — he looked like any common soldier — but I 
knew him at once. He was warming his hands over the fire, 
and Jacques was saying, as he held out the loaf, ' Take it«//, 
my General ! ' As I saw that, I looked into the General's 
face, and it was white as death with hunger. Think of that; 
it is true, for I who tell you know what hunger is." 

A murmur of amazement ran round the room ; not that 
the fact was new, but that such an expression of feeling was 
appropriate. 

"Did the Emperor take the half loaf ?" asked Father 
Rolland. 

"'Take it all,' said Jacques ; 'half a loaf is not much. 
Well, you should have seen the General smile. He did not 
answer, but he took the bread into his hands, and broke off 
a morsel and began to eat, handing Jacques back the rest. 
Then came my turn ! I held in my hand the little tin pot 
half full of water, and I emptied into it a little brandy that I 
had saved in my flask, and I handed the pot to the General. 
Here it is — the same — I keep it still as a souvenir." 

So saying, he detached from a hook over the fire the 
canteen, which Father Rolland examined over and over, and 
under and under, in honest admiration. 

" ' Drink, my General,' said I, saluting. Ah, I had 
courage in those days ! He drank, and when he tasted the 
brandy he smiled again ! Then he asked us our names, and 
we told him. Then he looked hard at us over and over 



CORPORAL DERVAJ GALLOPS I/TS HOBBY. 201 

again, wrapped his cloak around him, and went away. So 
Jacques and I sat down by the fire, and finished the bread 
and the brandy and water, and talked of the Emperor till 
we fell to sleep." 

" That was an adventure worth having ! " observed the 
curd. " And the General remembered you for that service, 
no doubt ? " 

The Corporal nodded. 

" The General remembers everything," he replied. " Nine 
years afterwards he had not forgotten ! " 

" Nine years ! " ejaculated the curd. " It was a long time 
to wait, Corporal. Did he give you no reward ? " 

Uncle Ewen turned rather red, but answered promptly — 

" What reward would you give for a crust of bread and a 
drop of brandy, which any one would give to the beggar at 
his door ? Besides, the General had more to think of, and 
it all passed like a dream. Not that we missed our reward 
at last. When the time came he remembered well." 

" That is certain,'' said Mikel Grallon, who had often 
heard the story. 

" Tell Father Rolland," cried Marcelle ; " he does not 
know." 

The Corporal hesitated, smiling. 

"Yes, yes, let us hear all about it ! " cried Father Rolland. 

" It was in the year 1805, at the camp of Boulogne. Great 
changes had taken place, the Little Corporal had been 
declared hereditary Emperor of France, but Jacques Monier 
and I were still in the ranks. We thought the General had 
forgotten all about us, and what wonder if he had, seeing 
how busy he had been knocking off the crowns of your 
Kings ? The grand army was there, and we of the grena- 
diers were to the front. That day of the coronation was 
fixed for a general distribution of crosses and medals. Such 
a day ! The mist was coming in from the sea like smoke 
from a cannon's mouth. On the rising ground above the 
town was a throne — the great iron chair of the mighty King 
Dagobert ; and all below the throne were the camps of the 



202 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

great armies, and right before the throne was the sea. When 
the Emperor sat down on the throne, our cry was enough 
to make the sky fall — vive V E7nJ?ereitr / — you would have 
said it was the waves of the sea roaring. But look you, at 
that very moment the smoke of the sea parted, and the sun 
glanced out : — you would have said because he waved his 
hand ! Ah, God ! such a waving of banners, glittering of 
bayonets, flashing of swords. Such a sight is seen but once 
in a lifetime ; I should have to talk all night to tell you a 
tenth of the wonders of that day. But I am going to tell 
you what happened to Tacques Monier and myself. When 
the Emperor was passing by— we were in the front ranks, 
you observe — he stopped short, like this / Then he took a 
huge pinch of snuff from his waistcoat pocket, with his head 
on one side, like this, studying our faces ; and then his face 
lighted up, and he came quite near. This is what he said — 
ah, that I could give you his voice ! — ' Come, I have not 
forgotten Cismone, nor the taste of that black bread and 
brandy and water.' Then he turned laughingly and spoke 
rapidly to Marshal Ney, who stood close by him ; and Ney 
laughed, and showed his white teeth, looking in our direction. 
Well, then, the great Emperor turned to us, and gave us 
each the Cross from his own hand, and saluted us as 
Corporals. I will tell you this — my eyes were dim — I could 
have cried like a girl ; but before we could know whether we 
stood on our heads or our feet, he was gone ! " 

Corporal Derval brushed his sleeve across his eyes, which 
were dim again with the very memory of that interview and 
its accompanying honours. He stooped over the fire and 
fidgeted with his little finger in the bowl of his pipe, while a 
subdued murmur ran round the apartment. 

" The Emperor has a good head to remember," observed 
the little cure. " I have been told that a good shepherd can 
tell the faces of every one of his flock, but this is more 
wonderful still. How long, do you say, had elapsed after 
Cismone, before you met again ? " 

" Nine years," answered the Corporal. 



CORPORAL DERVAL GALLOPS HIS HOBBY. 203 

" Nine years !" repeated the cure. "And in those nine 
years, my Corporal, what battles, what thoughts, what con- 
fusion of faces ! — how much to do, how much to think 
of ! Ah, he is a great man ! And was that the last time," 
he added, after a short pause, " that your eyes beheld 
him?" 

" I saw him once more," said the Corporal, "only once." 

"And then?" 

" It was only a month or two later — the first day of Dec- 
ember. It was the eve of the glorious battle of Austerlitz." 

A thrill ran through the assembly at the mention of the 
magic name. The Corporal lifted his head erect, and looked 
absolutely Napoleonic as he towered above his hearers. 
The cure started. Mother Derval heaved a heavy sigh, and 
glanced at the Corporal's wooden leg. Alain and Jannick 
grew serious. Mikel Grallon gazed curiously at Marcelle, 
whose pale face wore a strange smile. 

The Corporal proceeded — 

"We were crouched, seventy or eighty thousand of us, 
watching and waiting, when some one remembered that just 
a year ago that night the Little Corporal had been crowned 
Emperor. The word ran round. We gathered sticks and 
bundles of straw for joy-fires, and set them blazing to the 
tune of vive VEmftereur. It was pitch-dark, but our fires 
were crimson. In the middle of it all I saw him riding past. 
The cry ran along the camps like flame, but he passed by 
like a ghost, his head sunk down between his shoulders, his 
eyes looking neither to the left nor right. He rode a white 
horse, and Jacques said he looked like the white Death rid- 
ing to devour the Russians ! Poor Jacques ! He got his 
last furlough next day, and I, my marshal's baton ! " 

So saying, the veteran struck out his wooden leg, and 
regarded it with a look half plaintive, half comic. The irre- 
verent Jannick giggled — not at the joke, which was a too 
familiar one. 

" And you never saw him again," said the aire ; " that 
was the last time» 



204 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The Corporal nodded his head slowly and repeatedly, in 
the manner of a " Chinese mandarin " at a tea-dealer's door. 
He was about to speak again, when the door was suddenly 
dashed open, and Sergeant Pipriac, followed by four or five 
gendarmeSy rushed into the room. 




CHAPTER XXIV. 

"a terrible death." 

iERGEANT Pipriac was ghastly pale, and in the 
midst of his face shone with baleful light his 
bright Bardolphian nose, while his one eye 
glared horribly, like the eye of a Cyclops. 
His voice shook, partly with deep potations, 
partly with nervous agitation, and his legs flew this way and 
that with frantic excitement. His men were pale too, but 
much less moved. 

" Soul of a crow ! " cried the Corporal, " what is the 
matter?" 

The curi rose from his seat by the fire. 
" One would say," he exclaimed, " that the good Sergeant 
had seen a ghost ! " 

Sergeant Pipriac glared at the Corporal, then at the cure-, 
then all round the room, until he at last found voice. 

" And one would say rightly ! " he gasped. " Maledic- 
tion ! one would not be far wrong. Look how I shake still, 
— I, Pipriac, who would not fear the devil himself. A glass 
of water, mother, — for as I live, I choke." 

The Corporal stumped over to the table and poured out a 
little glass of brandy. 

" Take that, comrade," he said, with a nod ; " it is better 
than water. And now," he continued, when Pipriac had 



206 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

swallowed the liquor, " what is all this about ? and who is 
this that you have seen ? " 

" I will tell you," said Pipriac, wiping his brow with a 
great cotton pocket-handkerchief brilliantly ornamented with 
a portrait of Marshal Ney on his war steed. " What have I 
seen ? A thousand devils ! Well, I have seen your own in- 
fernal chouan of a nephew ! " 

" Rohan ?" ejaculated the Corporal in a voice of thunder, 
while the women started up in terror and horror, and the 
little cur/lifted his hands in astonishment. 

" Yes, Rohan Gwenfern — the man or the man's ghost, it is 
equal. Is there ever a soul here can swear to the man's 
clothes, for, look you, we have nigh stripped him clean ? 
An eel may slip from his skin, they say : well, so can he ot 
whom I speak. Pierre I Andre! who has the plunder?" 

The last words were addressed to his gendarmes, one of 
whom now stood forward carrying a peasant's jacket, and 
another a broad-brimmed peasant's hat. 

" If a ghost can wear clothes, these belong to him. Well, 
it is all the same now ; he will never need them more." 

The articles of attire were passed from hand to hand, but 
there was nothing to distinguish them specially as the pro- 
perty of the fugitive. The coat was torn down the back, as 
if in a severe scuffle. 

Sinking into a seat by the fire, Pipriac sat until he had re- 
covered breath, a consummation not to be achieved until he 
drank another glass of his favourite stimulant. Then he said 
grimly, looking at the Corporal — 

" His blood be on his own head. It is no fault of mine." 

The fierce frown which the Corporal's face had worn at 
the mention of Rohan's name had relaxed. He was about 
to speak, when Marcelle, white as death, came between 
him and Pipriac. 

" What do you mean ? " she cried. " You have not " 

Without completing the sentence, she cast at the bayonets 
of the gendarmes a look of horror that could not be mis« 
taken. Pipriac shook his head. 



"A TERRIBLE DEATH." 207 

" It is not that," he answered. " Old Pipriac is bad, but 
not so bad as that, my dear. Malediction ! is he not his 
father's son, and were not Raoul Gwenfern and Pen Pipriac 
comrades together? By the body of the Emperor, I have 
not hurt a hair of the villain's head.'' 

" Thank God ! " cried the little cure. " Then he has 
escaped." 

Pipriac screwed up his eye into something very like a sig- 
nificant wink, meant to be sympathetic, but only succeeding 
in being horrible. 

" I will tell you all about it," he said ; "you and the Cor- 
poral and all here. You know, we bad given him up as dead ; 
we had searched heaven and earth and hell for him with- 
out avail ; there seemed no place left for him but the bottom 
of the sea. Well, you may guess it was on quite different 
business I was prowling about to-night with my men ; but 
that is neither here nor there : we were coming along by the 
great stone up yonder — returning from a visit we had made 
to a little farm where there is good brandy " — here Pipriac 
winked diabolically again — " when we saw close to us in the 
moonlight, with his back to us, a man. I knew him in a 
moment, though I could not see his face ; but I will tell you 
frankly this — when he turned round and looked at us I 
thought it was his ghost, for I had really believed him dead. 
Poor devil, he looked thin and lean as a spectre, and white 
as death, in the moon. Corporal, it was your nephew, Rohan 
Gwenfern." 

" He is no nephew of mine," growled the veteran, but 
his voice trembled. 

" I don't know how it happened, but we were upon him in 
a moment — I, Andre", Pierre, and the others. Andre was 
the only one that got a hold ; he shook off the rest like so 
many mice. Before we knew it he was twenty yards away, 
dragging Andre with him towards the edge of the cliff. 
Diable ! it was like a lion of Algiers carrying off a man. 
Andre" had dropped his gun. and his hat had fallen off, and 
he was screaming- to us to help him ; the deserter could not 



208 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

shake him off. We fixed our bayonets, and after him we 
went." 

In the excitement of his narrative, Sergeant Pipriac had 
risen to his feet, and he was now surrounded by all the 
eager circle of hearers. Marcelle clung to her uncle's arm 
and listened with cheeks like marble, her large eyes fixed on 
the speaker's face. 

" ' No violence,' I shrieked out ; ' a thousand devils, take 
him alive ! ' When we seized him again, we were not ten 
yards from the edge of the great crag — you know it — it is 
like a wall. The tide was in, high spring tide, and the water 
was black far dowu below. We fell upon him, all six of us, 
and soon had him down ; it took all our strength, I can tell 
you. Well, we had him safe and he could not stir." 

" Bravo ! " said Mikel Grallon. 

"It is all very well to cry 'Bravo I'" said the irascible 
Sergeant, " but let me tell you the devil himself could not 
hold him I He lay for a minute quite still, and then he 
began to wriggle. You are a fisherman, and have tried to 
hold a conger eel ; well, it was like that. Before we knew 
what he was about, he had wriggled almost to the very edge 
of the cliff!" 

A low cry from Marcelle ; a nervous movement among the 
men. Then Pipriac continued — 

" We were six to one, I say, but for all that we could not 
stop him. I held on like Death, with my two hands twisted 
in his jacket ; the others gripped his arms and legs. But 
when I saw what he was about — when I heard the black sea 
roaring right under us — my heart went cold. I saw there 
was but one way, and I loosened one hand and seized the 
bayonet from Andre - ; it was unscrewed, and held in his hand 
ready to stab. Then I shrieked out, ' A thousand devils, 
keep still, or I shall bleed you ! ' He looked up at me with 
his white face, and set his teeth together. In a moment he 
had rolled round on his belly, slipped himself out of his 
jacket, torn himself loose, and was on the very edge of the 
crag. Heaven, you should have beftn there ! The loose 



•'A TERRIBLE DEATH." 209 

earth on the edge broke beneath his feet ; we all stood back, 
not daring to venture another step, and before we couK 
draw a breath he was gone down." 

A loud wail came from the mouth of Mother Derval, 
mingled with prayers and sobs, and the widow sank on her 
knees terror-stricken. But Marcelle still stood firm, frozen, 
motionless. The old Corporal looked pale and conscience- 
stricken ; while the little cure lifted up his hands crying — 

" Horrible ! Down the precipice ?" 

11 Right over," exclaimed Pipriac. " It was a horrible 
moment ; all was pitch-dark below, and we could see noth- 
ing. But we listened, and we heard a sound below us — faint, 
like the smashing of an egg." 

" Did he speak ? Did he scream ? " cried several voices. 

" Not he — he had no breath left in him for that ; he went 
down to his death as straight as a stone, and if he escaped 
the rocks he was drowned in the sea. Corporal Derval, 
don't say it was any fault of old Pipriac's ! I wanted to save 
him, damn him ! but he wouldn't be saved. In the scuffle I 
touched him ; but that was an accident, and I wanted to keep 
him from his death. Hither with the jacket, Pierre — show 
it to Corporal Derval and the company ! " 

The gendarme called Pierre held up the jacket, while the 
Sergeant proceeded — 

" There is a cut here, through the right sleeve — it is gashed 
right through ; and the left sleeve is wet, see you : that is 
where I hurt him in the struggle." 

" God help us ! " cried the cure, horror-stricken. " My 
poor Rohan ! " 

" Bah ! Why did he not give in, then ? " growled Pipriac. 
" But let no man say it was old Pipriac that killed him. He 
was bent on murdering himself, and perhaps some of us — 
that, I tell you, was his game. For all that, I am sorry I 
wounded him. This upon the jacket must be blood. Andre", 
let me see thy bayonet." 

The gendarme called Andre stepped forward, and held up 
his glittering weapon, now fixed upon his gun. 



210 rHE SHADOW Of 7-IIE SWORD. 

" Holy Virgin, look there ! J ' cried Pipriac. " Yes, it i» 
blood ! " 

All crowded round looking upon the weapon, all save the 
Widow Derval, who still kept upon her knees and wailed to 
God in the low monotonous fashion of mourning women in 
Brittany. 

" Yes, it is blood ! " said one voice and another. 

Among the faces that concentrated their gaze on the sight 
was that of Marcelle. The girl still stood firm, her lips set 
together, her eyes wide open in horrid fascination. She 
could see the shining blade glittering in the light — then the 
dark red stains glimmering upon it — but even then she did 
not swoon. 

"It is the last you will see of Rohan Gwenfern in this 
world," said Pipriac, after a pause. " Yes, it is blood, and no 
mistake ! " 

So saying, he wetted his forefinger with his lips and drew 
it deliberately down the bayonet's blade ; then he held his 
finger up to the light, and showed it moist and red. 

A murmur of horror ran round the room, while Marcelle, 
without uttering a sound, dropped down as if dead upon the 
floor. 

Early the next morning, when it was morte mer, or dead 
low water, a crowd of villagers gathered right under the 
enormous crag on the summit of which stood the colossal 
Menhir. Looking up, they saw a precipitous wall of con- 
glomerate and granite, only accessible to the feet of a goat, 
which was feeding far up on scanty herbage, and moving 
cautiously along the minute crevices of stone. It was Jan- 
nedik, with whose form the reader is already familiar. Look- 
ing down from time to time from her dizzy eminence, she 
inspected the chattering throng below, and then proceeded 
leisurely with her refreshment. 

Right at the foot of the crag lay fragments of loose earth 
and rock, recently detached from above, but of the body 
of Rohan Gwenfern there was no trace. At hisrh water, how- 



' ' A TERRIBI^JR Z)EA TH. " 211 

ever, the tide washed right up against the foot or the crag, 
and the waters there were swift and deep ; so the presump- 
tion seemed to be that Rohan, after falling prone into the 
sea, had been washed away with the ebb. 

Pipriac and his satellites, accompanied by Corporal 
Derval, inspected every nook and cranny of the shore, poked 
with stick and bayonet into every place likely and unlikely, 
swore infinitely, and did their duty altogether to their own 
satisfaction. The women gathered in knots and wailed. 
The villagers, with Mikel Grallon and Alain and Jannick 
Derval, gaped, speculated, and talked in monosyllables. 
Several boats were busy searching out on the sea, which was 
dead calm. 

Sustained by the unusual courage of her temperament, 
Marcelle came down, with all her hidden agony in her heart 
and her face tortured with tearless grief. Since she had 
swooned the night before — and never before had she so lost 
consciousness, for she was of no " fainting " breed — she had 
wept very little, and uttered scarcely a word. Too great a 
horror was still upon her, and she could not yet realize the 
extent of her woe. She had scarcely even breathed a prayer. 

The decision of the men assembled was unanimous. 
Rohan must have been killed by the fall before he reached 
the sea ; on reaching it, his body had in all probability sunk, 
and then been sucked by slow degrees out into the deep water. 
There was very little chance of finding it for some days ; and, 
indeed, it might never rise to the surface or be recovered 
at all. 

"And between ourselves," said Pipriac, winking grimly, 
"he is as well where he is, down there, as buried up yonder 
with a bullet in his heart. He would have been shot, you 
see, and he knew that. Don't say old Pipriac killed him, 
however — it was no fault of mine ; but duty is duty after 
all." 

Mikel Grallon, to whom these remarks were addressed, 
quite concurred. Honest Mikel was indefatigable in all 
respects — both in aiding the general search, and in convinc- 



212 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

ing Marcelle that her cousin could by no possibility have 
escaped. He was if anything a little too zealous, and, taking 
into consideration the nature of the catastrophe which had 
just occurred, several degrees too buoyant in his spirits. 

Leaving the crowd at the foot of the crag, Marcelle 
walked slowly along the shore in the direction of Mother 
Gwenfern's cottage. The sun was shining on the sea, and in 
her own sweet face, but she was conscious of nothing save a 
heavy load upon her heart. Lifting the cottage latch, she 
entered in, and found the widow seated in her usual upright 
attitude before the fire, her grey face rigid and tearless, her 
lips set tight together. Standing close to the fire was Jan 
Goron, who was speaking in a low voice as she appeared, 
but grew silent as she entered in. 

It was very strange, but the widow showed no sign of 
absolutely overwhelming grief ; her face rather betokened an 
intense resolve and despair. The news of the extraordinary 
catastrophe had not struck her to the ground ; perhaps its 
very horror upheld her for the time being. 

Silent as a ghost, Marcelle crossed the room, and sat down 
before the fire. 

" There is no hope," she said in a low voice ; " it is all as 
they said, Aunt Loiz." 

No wail came from the lips of the widow, only a deep 
shivering sigh. Goron, whose whole manner betokened in- 
tense nervous agitation, looked keenly at Marcelle, and 
said — 

" I was there this morning before them all ; I could not 
find a trace. It is a terrible death." 



CHAPTER XXV. 



THE JUNE FESTIVAL — AN APPARITION. 




MONTH had passed since that memorable 
night of the struggle on the cliffs, and it was 
the morning of the June Festival. The sea- 
pink was blooming, the lavender was in flower 
the corn had thrust its green fingers from the 
sweet-soiled earth, and the fields behind the crag were fra- 
grant with the breath of thyme. Heaven was a golden dome, 
the sea was a glassy mirror, the earth was a living form with 
a beating heart. In that season to live at all was pleasant, 
but to live and be young was paradise. 

There was a green dell in the meadows behind the cliffs, 
and in this green dell were the ruins of a dolmen, and to this 
dolmen they flocked from Kromlaix, with music and singing, 
happy as shepherds in the golden climes of Arcady. Young 
men, maidens, and children came gathering merrily to- 
gether ; for here in Kromlaix the usual Breton custom, which 
excludes from the festival young people under the age of 
sixteen, was never enforced, and indeed scarcely known. 
The only members of the population rigorously excluded 
were the married of both sexes. The feast was the feast of 
youth and virginity, and no sooner did a man or maid pass 
the portal of Hymen than his or her festal days were over for 
ever. 

Every youth that could play an instrument was in requisi- 

P 



2i 4 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

tion. Alain Derval was there with a new black flute bought 
lately in St. Gurlott, and Jannick was to the fore with his 
billion ; but besides these there were half a dozen other 
binions, and innumerable whistles both of tin and wood ; and, 
to crown all, the larks of the air, maddened with rivalry, sang 
their wildest and loudest overhead. Around the ruined dol- 
men, clad in all colours of the rainbow, were groups of sun- 
burnt girls and lads ; some romping and rolling some gather- 
ing cowslips and twining daisy-chains, some running and 
shouting, while voices babbled and the medley of music 
rose. In the broad hat of every man or lad was \ blade of 
corn, and on the breast of every girl was a flower of flax, 
with or without an accompaniment of wild heath and flowers. 

Presently, approaching these groups from the direction of 
Kromlaix, came a little procession, such as might have been 
seen of old during the Thalysia, and sung in Divine numbers 
by Theocritus. A flock of little children ran first, their voices 
singing, their hands full of flowers ; and behind them came a 
group of young men, bearing on their arms a kind of rustic 
chair, in which, with her lap full of buttercups and flowers of 
flax, sat Guineveve. By her side, laughing and talking and 
flourishing his stick, trotted Father Rolland, as eager as any 
there. 

Strange to say, his presence scarcely disturbed the idyllic 
and antique beauty of the picture ; for his black coat was 
scarcely noticeable in the gleam of colours surrounding him, 
and he carried his hat in his hand, and his round face was 
brown as a satyr's, and he was joining with all his lungs and 
throat in the choric song. The little cure was no killjoy, 
and he had enough Greek spirit in his veins to forget for the 
nonce that skulls were ever shaven or sackcloth and ashes 
ever worn. 

It was, however, an almost unprecedented thing to behold 
Father Rolland at such a gathering. The feast was of Pagan 
origin, discountenanced in many parishes, especially by 
priests of the new Napoleonic dispensation, and Father 
Rolland, although he was not bigot enough to interfere with 



THE JUNE FESTIVAL— AN APPARITION. 21 \ 

the innocent happiness of the day, had never before been 
present on such an occasion. His coming was not altogether 
unexpected, however, and he was greeted on every side with 
a pastoral welcome. 

Coming close up to the Druidic stone of the dolmen, the 
men set down their burthen, while Father Rolland stood by> 
wiping his brow with a silk pocket-handkerchief. Then Jan 
Goron, who had been one of the bearers, lifted Guineveve in 
his arms and placed her on a knoll among a group of girls, 
who greeted her by name and made room for her beside 
them. The eyes of Guineveve were sparkling brightly, and 
she spoke rapidly to her comrades in Brezonec ; — it was 
something amusing, for they all laughed and clapped their 
hands. 

At that moment, however, Father Rolland raised his hand. 
The music and laughter ceased, every face was turned one 
way, and all became quite still : only the larks kept singing 
overhead in a very ecstasy of triumph at having (as they 
imagined) beaten and silenced all other competitors. 

Father Rolland's face was very grave. Every face around 
him suddenly grew grave too. 

" Boys and girls," he said in Brezonec, " do you know what 
has brought me here ? You cannot guess — so I will tell you. 
It is simple enough and very sad. It is right for you to make 
merry, mes garz, because you are young, and because there 
will be a good harvest ; but it is also right to remember the 
dead." Here the little cure crossed himself rapidly, and all 
the other members o. 1 the gathering crossed themselves too. 
" Sad events have taken place since last you gathered here ; 
many have been taken away by the Conscription, some have 
died and been buried, and some are sick ; but it is not of any 
of those that I want to speak, but of the poor garz who was 
your patron last year, and who is now — ah, God ! where is 
he now ? Let us hope at the feet of holy St. Gildas himself 
and of the blessed Virgin ! " 

Again, automatically, they made the sign of the cross, even 
little children joining. Some looked sad, others careless and 



216 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

indifferent, but all knew the little cure spoke of Rohan 
Gwenfern. It was the custom every year for the young 
people to choose among themselves a sort of king and queen, 
who led the sports and reigned for the day, and last year 
Rohan had been king and Marcelle had been queen — or, 
to translate the dialect of the country, " patron " and 
" patroness." 

" I am not going to praise or blame him who is gone ; he 
was foolish, perhaps, and wrong ; though for all that he came 
of a fine family, and was a pleasure to look at for strength. 
Well, he is dead, and there is an end — peace to his soul ! 
Now that you are so merry, don't forget him altogether, nor 
poor Marcelle Derval, who was his patroness last year, and 
is too heart-broken, I am sure, to join you to-day." 

Here the little cure" was greeted with a loud murmur from 
all his hearers, and all heads were turned, looking away from 
him. Then, to his amaze, he saw Marcelle herself rise up 
and approach him. She wore no mourning but a saffron 
hood ; her dress was dark and unadorned, and her face was 
pallid and subdued. 

" I am here, Father Rolland," she said, as she met his eye. 

" Blessed saints ! " ejaculated the cutk- " Well, my child, 
thou art right to cast off care ; it is courageous, and I am 
pleased." 

Nevertheless the priest looked very serious. In his own 
heart he thought Marcelle rather unfeeling, and would have 
been better satisfied to hear that she had stayed away. 

" I did not think of coming at first," she said, approaching 
close, " but Guineveve begged me, and at last I consented. 
It is for Guineveve's sake I came, and for Jan Goron's. My 
cousin Rohan is not here to-day, and will never be here 
again, but I know what would have been his wish. He 
would have wished Jan Goron to be patron, and Guineveve 
to be patroness ; and that is my wish, too." 

There was a moment's silence, then came a loud crying 
and clapping of hands. " Yes, yes ! " cried the groups of 
men and girls, only a few dissentient voices crying, " No, 



THE JUNE FESTIVAL— AN APPARITION. 217 

no !" But the affair had been settled long befoie, and that 
was why Goron had escorted Guineveve thither. 

"The blessings of the saints be upon you, Marcelle 
Derval," said the curd, "for you have a kind heart ; though, 
for that matter, Guineveve is a girl in a thousand. Well 
boys and girls, is that your choice ? " 

The answer was unmistakable, the consent almost unani- 
mous. And already, seated on a knoll in the midst of a 
garland of girls, Guineveve was enjoying her sovereignty 
with supreme and perfect happiness, light in her face, joy in 
her heart, flowers on her breast and in her lap ; while Goron, 
clad brightly as a bridegroom, stood over her, looking down 
into her eyes with perfect admiration and love. 

Marcelle saw it all — the bright, the happy smiling faces — 
and her thoughts went back to last year, when she and 
Rohan, then almost unconscious of passion, were merrymaking 
in the same place. Her cheek grew whiter, and for a moment 
all she saw went dim. Then she thought to herself, " No one 
must know ! I will creep away as soon as I can, for it all 
seems dreadful now Rohan is dead." 

After a few more words, Father Rolland lifted up his hands 
to pronounce a blessing ; and all knelt down on the grass 
around him in silence as he prayed. It was done in a 
minute, and before they could all rise up again the priest 
was trotting away back to the village. The pipes and binions 
struck up again, sports and rompings began, all voices 
chattered at once like the voices of innumerable birds, and 
great grew the fun of the feast. 

It was the custom for the new patron and patroness to lead 
off the gavotte, or country dance ; so Goron led out 
Guineveve, and the dance began. One after another couple 
joined, all uniting hand in hand, till they formed one long 
chain of shining, glancing bodies, leaping, crying, inter- 
twining, interturning, performing the most extraordinary 
steps with heel and toe, till the eyes grew dizzy to look at 
them. 

" Marcelle, will you not dance ? " said a voice in her ear. 



218 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

She was standing looking on like one in a dream when she 
heard the voice, and she did not turn round, for the tones 
were familiar. 

" I shall not dance to-day, Mikel Grallon." 

" That is a pity," said Mikel quietly, for he was too shrewd 
to show his annoyance. " One turn — come ! " 

" No, I am going home." 

" Going home, and the sport has only just commenced ! 
But you will try your charm on the love-stone before you 
go?" 

It was the custom on that day for every single woman to 
leave a flower of flax, and every single man a blade of corn, 
on the stone of the dolmen. So long as flower and blade 
keep their freshness the hearts of their depositors are faith- 
ful ; if they wither before the week is out, all will g.o wrong. 
So Marcelle answered — 

" I have brought no posy, and I shall try no charm. It is 
all foolish, and I shall not stay." 

And truly, in a little time she had slipped away from the 
company, whose merry laughter sounded in the distance 
behind her, and was hastening heart-broken homeward. She 
walked fast, for she was trying in vain to shake off Mikel 
Grallon, who followed close to her, talking volubly. 

" You shall not soil your fingers or carry a load — no, not 
even a drop of water from the Fountain ; and I shall take 
you sometimes to Brest to visit my uncle who keeps the 
cabaret, and you shall have shoes and new gowns from 
Nantes. And if the good God sends us children, one of the 
boys shall be made a priest." 

This was plain speaking for a wooer, but Marcelle was not 
shocked. The height of a Breton mother's ambition is to 
have a son in the priesthood, and Marcelle was by no means 
insensible to the promise, especially as she knew that the 
speaker had means enough to carry it out. 

" I shall never marry," she replied vaguely. 

" Nonsense, Marcelle ! The good Corporal and thy 
mother wish it, and I will take you without a dower. It is 



THE JUNE FESTIVAL— AN APPARITION. 219 

yourself that I wish, for I have enough of my own. I have 
set my heart upon it. . . . You should see the great 
press of linen my mother has prepared for the home-coming : 
soft as silk and white as snow — it would do your heart good, 
it smells so kindly." 

Marcelle glanced at him sidelong, almost angrily. 

" I have told you twenty times that I will not have you. 
If you speak to me of it again, I shall hate you, Mikel 
Grallon." 

Mikel scowled — he could not help it ; his brows were 
knitted involuntarily, and an ugly light shot out of his eyes. 
He took a false step, and lost his temper. 

" I know why you treat me so. You are thinking of that 
choiian of a cousin ! " 

Marcelle turned upon him suddenly. 

" If he was a c/iouan, you are worse. He is dead — his 
soul is with God : and it is like you to speak of him so." 

Mikel saw his blunder, and hastened to retrieve it, if 
possible. 

" Do not be angry, for I did not mean it. Rohan Gwen- 
fern was a good fellow ; but, look you, he is dead — besides 
you were cousins, and the Bishop might not have been 
willing. ' Drowned man can't marry dry maid,' says the 
proverb. Look you again, Rohan was poor ; my little 
finger is worth more silver than his whole body. I am a 
warm man, I, though I say it that should not." 

More he uttered in similar strain, but all to the same 
effect. At last he left her and returned to the gathering, 
angry with himself, with her, with all creation. For her last 
words to him were, as she passed down into the village, 
" Go back and choose a better ; I shall never marry but one 
man, and that man is lying dead at the bottom of the sea." 

That night a singular circumstance occurred, which was 
remembered for many a long year afterwards by the super- 
stitious in Kromlaix. A party of fishermen, returning home 
late after lobster trawling, and rowing on the glassy sea 



220 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

close under the shadow of the gigantic cliffs, suddenly 
beheld an apparition. 

There was no moon, and, although it was summer-tide, a 
black veil covered the sky. Under the cliff-shadow all was 
black and still, save for the solemn crying of the unseen 
birds and the moaning of the sea on rock and sand. There 
was not a breath of wind, and the men were rowing wearily 
home, with sails furled and masts lowered, when their eyes 
were dazzled by a sudden ray of brilliance streaming out of 
the Gate of the Cathedral of St Gildas. 

Now, as we have seen before, the Cathedral was well 
known to be haunted, and there was scarcely one man in 
Kromlaix who would have entered it, sailing or afoot, after 
sunset. On the present occasion it was high water, and the 
Cathedral was floored with the liquid malachite of the sea. 

Abreast of the Gate before they perceived the light, they 
raised their terrified eyes and looked in, each man crossing 
himself and murmuring a prayer, for the very spot was peri- 
lous. In a moment they were petrified by fear, — for the vast 
Cathedral was illuminated, and high up on the mossy altar 
stood a gigantic figure holding a torch of crimson fire ! The 
light illumed the face of the cliff behind him, save where his 
colossal shade trembled, reaching up to heaven. His shape 
was dark and distorted, his face almost indistinguishable, 
but every man who gazed, when he came to compare his 
impression with that of his companions, agreed that the ap- 
parition was that of the blessed St. Gildas. 

The view was only momentary, but before it ceased 
another terror was added. Crouched at the feet of the Saint 
was a dark figure, only the head of which was perceptible, 
and this head, ornamented with hideous horns and with eyes 
of horrible lustre, was gazing up awe-stricken in the face of 
Gildas. The men covered their eyes in horror, and uttered 
a low cry of terror. Instantly the light was extinguished, the 
figures vanished, and the whole Cathedral was in pitch 
darkness. Sick, horrified, praying, and half swooning, the 
fishermen rowed madly away. 



THE JUNE FESTIVAL — 4 N APPARITION. 221 

They had seen enough ; for in that moment of horror they 
had not only perceived the terrible Saint so near to God, 
but had recognised in the figure at his feet, which was 
doubtless doing some dreadful penance for iniquities to man- 
kind, the horrid lineaments of the Evil One himself! 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKES A DISCOVERY. 




jHE day after the miraculous vision in the Ca- 
thedral of St. GilJas all Kromlaix was -ringing 
with the tale. No one questioned lor a 
moment the veracity of the eye-witnesses • 
indeed, everybody was only too ready to accept 
without question anything supernatural, and the present ac- 
count possessed every attraction the most superstitious indi- 
vidual could desire. There might have been a certain com- 
monplace about the appearance of the Saint himself — he had 
often been seen revisiting the glimpses of the moon ; but he 
had never before, within the memory of the oldest inhabi- 
tant, been beheld actually in the company of '•' Master 
Roberd," the horned one of Satanic fame. Success embol- 
dens the most timid tale-teller, and the eye-witnesses, 
finding their hearers ready to accept any and every em- 
bellishment, gave full liberty to their superstitious imagin- 
ations. 

"He had two great eyes, each as red as a boat lantern," 
said one of these worthies, an aged fisherman ; " and they 
looked up in the blessed Saint's face all bloodshot and 
glittering — one flash of them would have withered up a 
mortal man ; but the blessed Saint held up his torch and 
made him go through his confession like any good Chris- 
tian, word after word." 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKES A DISCOVERY. 223 

The speaker was lying on the shingle surrounded by a 
group of men and boys, among whom was Mikel Grallon. 

" Made him go through his confession ? " echoed one of 
the group. 

" How do you know that, old Evran ? You could not 
hear?" 

The first speaker nodded his head sagaciously. 

" Ask Penmarch ! question Gwesklen 1 They were there. 
For my own part, I believe ' Master Roberd ' was repeating 
the blessed Litany, and God knows he would rather burn 
for a hundred hundred years than be made to do so. One 
thing is certain — here stood the blessed Saint, and there 
knelt the Black One ; and every one knows that is the sort 
of penance the Saint puts upon him whenever he catches 
him on holy ground." 

A murmur of wonder went round. Then Mikel Grallon 
said, knitting his brows heavily — 

" It is strange enough. A torch in his hand, you said? " 

" A torch. A great wild light like a comet, Mikel Grallon. 
It made us nearly blind to look." 

"And the Saint — you saw him quite plain ? " 

" Am I blind, Mikel Grallon ? There he stood : you 
would have said it was an angel from heaven. Gwesklen 
says he had great wings ; for my own part, I did not see the 
wings, but I will tell you what I did see — the devil's feet, and 
they were great cloven hoofs, horrible to behold." 

There was a long pause. Presently Mikel Grallon 
muttered, as if communing to himself — 

" Suppose, after all, it had been a man ! " 

The old fisherman stared at Grallon with prolonged and 
stupefied amazement. 

"A man ! " he echoed. " Holy saints keep us, a man ! " 

The others repeated the words after him, staring at 
Grallon as if he had been guilty of some horrible blasphemy. 

"A man in the Cathedral of St. Gildas at dead of night \" 
he exclaimed, with a contemptuous laugh. " A man as tall 
as a tree, shining like moonlight, and with wings, with 



224 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

wings ! A man teaching ' Master Roberd ' his confession ! 
Mikel Grallon, art thou mad? " 

Grallon was in a minority. Less grossly superstitious than 
many of his fellow-villagers, and disposed to inquire in his 
own rude manner into matters they took on hearsay, he was 
regarded by a goodly number of his neighbours as officious 
and impertinent. For all that, he bore the character of a 
pious man, and did not care to lose it. 

" Oh, I say nothing ! " he observed. " Such things have 
been, and the Cathedral is a dreadful place. But is it not 
strange that the Saint should carry a light ? " 

" Strange ? " grunted the fisherman. " And what is 
strange in that, Mikel Grallon ? Was it not black-dark 
with never a peep of moon or star, and how should the 
blessed Saint see his way without a torch of fire to light him ? 
Strange — ugh! It would have been strange if the blessed 
one had been standing there with ' Master Roberd ' in the 
dark, like a miserable mortal man." 

This answer was so conclusive that not another word was 
possible ; and, indeed, Mikel Grallon seemed to think he 
^jad committed a blunder in making so very absurd a sugges- 
tion. This was decidedly the opinion of his hearers, for as 
Grallon walked away into the village, leaving the group 
behind him, the old salt observed, shrugging his shoulders — 

" Mikel Grallon used to be a sensible man ; but he is in 
love, you see, and perhaps that is why he talks like a fool." 

Here, doubtless, the weather-wise worthy was at fault, for 
Mikel Grallon was no fool ; he was only a very suspicious 
man, who never took anything for granted, always excepting, 
of course, the dogmas of that religion wherein he had been 
born and bred. Physically, he was timid ; intellectually, he 
was bold. Had he been one of the original witnesses of the 
vision in the Cathedral, he would possibly have shared the 
terror of his comrades to the full, and brought away s 
exaggerated a narrative ; but receiving the account coolly in 
the broad light of day, reading it in the light of recent 
events, weighing it in the scales of his judgment against his 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKES A DISCOVERY. 225 

knowledge of the folly and stupidity of those who brought it, 
he had — almost involuntarily, for with such men suspicion is 
rather an instinct than a process of thought — come to a con- 
clusion startlingly at variance with the conclusions of the 
general populace. What that conclusion was remains to be 
seen ; meantime, he kept it carefully to himself. His time 
was fully occupied in prosecuting his suit with Marcelle 
Derval. 

Now, he had not exaggerated in the least when he had 
said that that suit had been favourably heard by the heads 
of the Derval household. By means of innumerable little 
attentions, not the least of which lay in his power of listen- 
ing without apparent weariness to tales that were repeated 
over and over again, and which had invariably the same Im- 
perial centre of interest, he had quite succeeded in winning 
the heart of the Corporal ; while in the eyes of Mother 
Derval he was a low-spoken, pious person, of excellent 
family, well able to maintain a wife, and well worthy of a 
virtuous girl's esteem. As to Alain and Jannick, he found in 
them tolerable allies so long as he plied them — particularly 
the wicked humourist Jannick — with little presents such as 
youths love. He might, therefore, be said with justice to be 
already an approved suitor in the eyes of the whole family. 

Had Marcelle been a girl of a different stamp, more 
submissive and less headstrong, the betrothal would have 
been as good as concluded. Unfortunately for the suit, 
however, the chief party concerned was resolute in resistance, 
and they knew her character too well to use harsh measures. 
The etiquette for a Kromlaix maiden under such circum- 
stances was to take unhesitatingly the good or bad fortune 
which her guardians selected for her, to leave all the 
preliminaries in their hands, and only at the last moment to 
come forward and behold the object of the family choice. 
Marcelle, however, had a way of following her own inclina- 
tions, and was not likely to alter her habits when choosing a 
husband. 

Just then the very thought of love was terrible to her. No 



226 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

sooner did she feel assured that Rohan was dead, than all 
her old passion sprang up twentyfold, and she began to 
bathe the bitter basil-pot of memory with secret and 
nightly tears. She forgot all his revolt, all his outrage 
against the Emperor ; nay, the Emperor himself was for- 
gotten in the sudden inspiration of her new and passionate 
grief. " I have killed him ! " she cried to herself again and 
again. " Had I not drawn the fatal number he might be 
living yet ; but he is dead, and I have killed him ; and 
would that I might die too ! " 

In this mood she assumed mourning — a saffron coif, dress 
of a dark and sombre dye : there were young widows in the 
place who did not wear so much. Nor did she now conceal 
from any one the secret of her loss. " Tell them all, mother; 
I do not care. I loved my cousin Rohan ; I shall love him 
till I die." 

In due time, of course, this travelled to the ears of Mikel 
Grallon. 

Strange to say, honest Mikel, so far from persisting under 
the circumstances, delicately withdrew into the background, 
and ceased to thrust his attentions on Marcelle. This con- 
duct was so singular in a being so pertinacious that it even 
awakened amazement in the Corporal. 

" Soul of a crow ! " he said, " have you no courage ? She 
sees you too little — let her know that you mean to win. 
Girls' hearts are taken by storm ; but you have not the spirit 
of a fly." 

Mikel Grallon sighed. 

" It is no use, Uncle Ewen. She is thinking too much of 
one that is dead." 

Corporal Derval scowled, but replied not ; he knew well 
to whom Grallon was referring, and having latterly thought 
more tenderly and pityingly of his unfortunate nephew, not 
without certain sharp twinges of the conscience, he did not 
care to discuss the subject. Under any other circumstances 
he would have been savage with Marcelle for having formed 
her secret attachment to her cousin ; but the bloodhounds 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKES A DISCOVERY: 227 

of the Conscription had been unleashed, and the man, his 
own flesh and blood, had been hunted down to death, — and 
now, after all, silence was best. It cannot be denied that at 
this period the Corporal showed an uneasiness under fire 
unworthy of such a veteran. He who would have cheerfully 
led a forlorn hope, or marched up to the very jaws of a 
cannon, now fidgeted uneasily in his chimney corner when- 
ever the great silent eyes of his niece were quietly fixed upon 
him. He felt guilty, awkward, almost cowardly, and was 
glad even of Mikel Grallon to keep him company. 

But, as we have already hinted, Grallon's attentions began 
to fall off rapidly soon after that memorable vision of the 
fishermen at the Gate of St. Gildas. You would have said, 
observing him closely, that the man was the victim of some 
tormenting grief. He became secret and mysterious in his 
ways, fond of solitude, more than ever reticent in his speech ; 
his days were often passed in solitary rambles among the 
cliffs, his nights in lonely sails upon the sea ; and from the 
cliffs he brought no burthen of weed or samphire, from the 
sea no fish. He, naturally a busy man, became preter- 
naturally idle. There could scarcely be found a finer 
example, to all appearance,, of melancholia induced by 
unsuccessful love. 

It was one wet day, during one of his long rambles, that, 
suddenly approaching the Ladder of St. Trifhne, he found 
himself face to face with a woman who leant upon a staff 
and carried a basket. She was very pale, and breath- 
ing hard from the ascent, but when she encountered him 
her lips went quite blue and a dull colour came into her 
cheeks. 

" What, Mother Gwenfern ! " he exclaimed ; " you are the 
last woman one would have thought of meeting in such 
weather. Shall I carry your basket for you? You must 
be tired." 

As he held out his hand to take her burthen from her, she 
drew back shivering. A thick misty rain was falling, and 
her cloak was dripping wet. 



228 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" God's mercy, mother ! you are pale as death — you have 
caught fever, perhaps, and will be ill." 

As he spoke, he watched her with a look of extraordinary 
penetration, which strongly contradicted the simplicity of his 
manner. She had been struggling all this time for breath, 
and at last she found her speech. 

" I have been gathering dulse. You are right, Mikel ; it 
is a long journey, and I should not have come so far." 

" It is not good for old limbs to be so fatigued," replied 
Grallon simply ; " at your age, mother, you should rest. 
Look you, that is what all the neighbours say is strange." 

"What is strange ?" asked the woman sharply. 

" A little while ago you were for ever sitting by the fire or 
busy in the cottage ; not even on a holiday did you cross 
the door ; and we all thought it was your sickness and were 
sorry. Yet since you have lost your son — amen to his soul ! 
— you are never content at home ; you are for ever wander- 
ing up and down as if you could not rest in peace.''' 

" That is true," exclaimed Mother Gwenfern, looking at 
him fixedly with her cold scared eyes ; '' I cannot rest since" 
— she paused a moment shivering — " since they killed my 
boy." 

" Ah, yes," said Grallon, forcing into his face a look of 
sympathy. " But, mother, in such weather ! " 

" When one has a broken heart, wind and rain cannot 
make it better or worse. Good day, Mikel Grallon." 

As the tall figure of the old woman disappeared in the 
direction of the village, Grallon watched it with a strange 
and cunning look. When it was quite invisible, he quietly 
descended the Ladder to the sea-shore, walked quickly along 
the beach, and came as close as possible to the Cathedral : 
but the tide was too high for a passage round to the Gate. 
So he stood on the water's edge, like one in profound medita- 
tion ; then, as if an idea had suddenly occurred to him, he 
began curiously to examine the shingly shore. 

Ke soon came upon traces of human feet, just where the 
retiring tide lefi the shingle still dark and wet ; t^e heavy 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKE3 A DISCOVERY. 229 

marks of wooden shoes were numerous and unmistakable — 
Mother Gwenfern had been wandering to and fro on the 
water's edge. All at once Grallon stooped eagerly down 
over a patch of sand, soft as wax to take any impression left 
upon it ; and there, clear and unmistakable, was the print of 
a naked human foot. 

With a patient curiosity worthy of some investigator ot 
natural science, some short-sighted ponderer over " common 
objects of the sea-shore," Mikel Grallon examined this foot- 
print in every possible way and light — spanned and measured 
it lengthways and across, stooped down close over it with an 
extraordinary fascination. Not the immortal Crusoe, dis- 
covering his strange footprint on the savage shore, was more 
curious. Having completed his examination, Mikel Grallon 
smiled. 

It was not a nice smile, that of Mikel Grallon ; rather the 
smile of Reynard the Fox or Peeping Tom of Coventry — the 
smile of some sly and cruel creature when some other weaker 
creature lies at its mercy, though mercy it has none. With 
this smile upon his face, Mikel reascended the steps and re- 
turned quietly and peacefully to his virtuous home. 

From that day forth his conduct became more peculiar 
than ever ; his monomania so possessing him that he 
neglected proper sustenance and lost his natural rest. Curi- 
ously enough, he had now so great a fascination for Mother 
Gwenfern's cottage that he kept it all day in his sight, and 
when night came was not far from the door. It thus happened 
that the widow, whenever she crossed her threshold, was 
almost certain to encounter honest Mikel, who followed her 
persistently with expressions of sympathy and offers of 
service ; so that, to escape his company, she would return 
again into her cottage, looking wearied out and pale a3 death. 
And whenever he slept, some other pair of eyes was on the 
watch ; for he had a confidant, some nature silent as his 
own. 

Whatever thought was in his mind it never got abroad. 
Like one that prepares a hidden powder mine, carefully laying 



230 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the train for some terrible explosion, he occupied himself 
night and day, hugging his secret — if secret he had — to hi? 
bosom, with the characteristic vulpine smile. Whenever he 
found himself in the company of Marcelle, this vulpine look 
was exchanged for one of pensive condolence, as if he knew 
her sorrow and sympathised — under gentle protest, however 
— with its cause. 

A little later on, Mikel Grallon had another adventure 
which, however trifling in itself, interested him exceedingly, 
and led at last to eventful consequences. 

He was moving one evening along the cliffs, not far from 
the scene of the fatal struggle between Rohan Gwenfern and 
the ge?idarmes, and he was very stealthily observing the 
green tract between him and the village, when he suddenly 
became aware of a figure moving close by him and towards 
the verge of the crags. Now, it had grown quite late, and 
the moon had not yet risen, but there was light enough in 
the summer twilight to discern a shape with its face turned 
upon his and moving backward like a ghost. For a moment 
his heart failed him, for he was superstitious ; but recovering 
himself, he sprang forward to accost the shape. Too late ; 
it had disappeared, as if over the very face of the cliff — as if 
straight down to the terrible spot where the traces of death 
had been found some weeks before. 

Strange to say, this time also, but not until he had re- 
covered from the first nervous shock of the meeting, Mikel 
Grallon smiled. 

After that, his watchings and wanderings grew more 
numerous than ever, and his reputation as a confirmed night- 
bird spread far and wide. " I will tell you this," said one 
gossip to another ; " Mikel Grallon has something on his 
mind, and he is thinking far too much of the old Corporal's 
niece." Even the announcement of the arrival of the 
mackerel did not alter him ; for, instead of taking his seat 
as captain of his own boat, he put another man in his 
place, and received only his one share as owner of the 
boat. He had the air of a man for ever on the watch — a 



MIKEL GRALLON MAKES A DISCOVERY. 231 

contraband air, as of one ever expecting to surprise or be 
surprised. 

At last, one day, final and complete success having 
crowned his endeavours, he walked quietly into the Corporal's 
kitchen, where the family was gathered at the midday meal, 
and said in a low voice, after passing the usual saluta- 
tions — 

" I bring news. Rohan Gwenfern is not dead ; he is hiding 
in the Cathedral of St. Gildas." 




CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE HUE AND CRY. 

LAIN and Jannick were out at the fishing, 
and the only members of the family present 
were the Corporal, Mother Derval, and Mar- 
celle. The Corporal fell back in his chair 
aghast, gazing wildly at Mikel ; Mother Derval, 
accustomed to surprises, only dropped her aims by her side 
and uttered a deep moan ; but Marcelle, springing up, with 
characteristic presence of mind ran to the door, which had 
been left wide open, and locked it quickly — then, returning 
white as death, with her large eyes fixed on Mikel, she 
murmured — 

" Speak low, Mikel Grail on ! for the love of God, speak 
low." 

"It is true," said Grallon in a thick whisper ; "he lives, 
and I have discovered it by the merest chance. True, I 
have suspected it for a long time, but now I know it for a 
certainty." 

" Holy Mother, protect us !" cried the widow. " Rohan — 
alive ! " 

By this time the Corporal had recovered from his stupor, 
and advancing on Grallon before Marcelle could utter another 
word, he exclaimed — 

u Are you drunk, Mikel Grallon, or are you come here 
sober to outrage us with a lie ? Soul of a crow ! take care, 



THE HUE AND CRY. 233 

or you will see me angry, and then we shall quarrel in good 
earnest, mon garzP 

" Speak lower ! '' said Marcelle, with her hand upon her 
uncle's arm. " If the neighbours should hear ! " 

"What I say is the truth," responded Mikel, looking very 
white round the edges of his lips ; " and I sware by the 
blessed bones of St Gildas himself, that Rohan is alive. I 
know his hiding-place, and I have seen him with my own 
eyes." 

"His spirit perhaps !" groaned the widow. "Ah, God! 
he died a violent death, and his poor spirit cannot rest." 

Mikel Grallon cast a contemptuous look in the widow's 
direction, and faintly shrugged his shoulders. 

" I am not one of those who go about seeing ghosts, 
mother ; and I know the difference between spirits of 
air and men of flesh and blood. Go to ! This is gospel 
that I am telling you, and Rohan is hiding in the great 
Cathedral, as I said." 

" In the Cathedral ! " echoed the Corporal. 

" There, or close at hand ; of that I am certain. I have 
tracked him thrice, and thrice he has disappeared into the 
Cathedral ; but I was alone, see you, and I did not care to 
follow too close, for he is desperate. I should have put my 
hand upon him once, but he walks the cliffs like a goat, and 
he went where I could not follow." 

The news, though thus quietly announced, fell like a 
thunderbolt on the hearth of the Corporal, and perfect con- 
sternation followed. As for Uncle Ewen, he was completely 
overpowered, for the announcement of his nephew's death 
had been pleasant compared with the announcement that he 
was not dead at all ; since to be alive was still to be in open 
arms against the Emperor, to be still a miserable " deserter," 
worthy the contempt and hate of all good patriots ; to be, 
last and worst, a doomed man, who might be seized and shot 
like a dog at any moment. Uncle Ewen was horror-stricken. 
Of late he had been conscience-twinged on account of Rohan, 
and had secretly reproached himself for undue harshness 



234 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

and severity ; and in his own stern way he had thought very 
softly of the gentle dead, so that more than once his rough 
sleeve had been brushed across his wet eyes ; but now to 
hear all at once that his sorrow had been wasted, and that 
the spectre of family shame was still haunting the village, was 
simply overwhelming. 

Marcelle, for her part, rose to the occasion instead of sink- 
ing under it. She was one of those unique women who feel 
rather than think, and whose feeling at once assumes the form 
of rapid action. With her eyes so steadily and questioningly 
fixed on his face that Grallon became quite tremulous and 
uncomfortable, she seemed occupied for a brief space in 
reading the honest man's very soul ; but speedily satisfying 
herself that she had completely mastered that not very 
abstruse problem, she said with decision — 

" Tell the truth, Mikel Grallon ! Have you spoken of this 
to any other living soul?" 

Mikel stammered and looked confused ; he replied, how- 
ever, in the negative. 

" If you have not spoken, then remember — his life is in 
your hands, and, if he is discovered through you, his blood 
will be upon your head, and the just God will punish you.'' 

Mikel stammered again, saying — 

"Others may have also seen him; nay, I have heard 
Pipriac himself say that he suspects ! Look you, you must 
not blame me if he is found, for other men have eyes as well 
as I. Ever since that night of the vision in the Cathedral, 
they have been on the watch ; for it is clear now that it was 
not the blessed Saint at all, but a mortal man, Rohan Gwen- 
fern himself." 

This was said with such manifest confusion and hesitation, 
and accompanied with so guilty a lowering of the vulpine 
eyes, that Marcelle leaped at once to a conclusion fatal to 
honest Mikel's honour. She fixed her gaze again upon him, 
so searchingly and so terribly, that he began bitterly to 
reproach himself for having brought his information in person 
at all. The truth is, he had expected a wrathful explosion 



THE HUE AND CRY. 235 

on the part of the Corporal, and had calculated, under cover 
of that explosion, on playing the part of an innocent and 
sympathetic friend of the family ; but finding that all looked 
at him with suspicion and horror, as on one who had con- 
jured up some terrible phantom, and who was responsible 
for all the consequences of the fact he had announced, he 
lost courage and betrayed too clearly that his conduct had 
not been altogether disinterested. 

At last Uncle Ewen began to find his tongue. 

" But it is incredible ! " he exclaimed. " Out there among 
the cliffs, with no one to bear him food, a man would 
starve / " 

" One would think so," said Grallon ; " but I have seen 
his mother wandering thither with her basket, and the basket, 
be sure, was never empty. Then Rohan was not like others ; 
he is well used to living out among the sea-birds and the rock- 
pigeons. At all events, there he is, and the next thing to 
isk is, What is to be done ?" 

The Corporal did not reply ; but Marcelle, now pale as 
death, drew from her breast a small cross of black bog oak, 
and holding it out to Mikel, said, still with her large eyes 
fixed on his — 

" Will you swear upon the Blessed Cross, Mikel Grallon, 
that you have kept the secret ?" 

Mikel looked amazed, even hurt, at the suggestion. 

" Have I not just discovered it, and to whom should I 
speak ? If you wish it, I will swear ! " 

Providence, however, had not arranged that Mikel 
Grallon was to commit formal perjury ; for at that 
moment some one was heard fingering the latch, and when 
the door did not open there came a succession of heavy 
knocks. 

" Open ! " cried a voice. 

Even the Corporal went pale, while the mother sank on 
her knees close to the spinning-wheel in the corner, and 
Marcelle held her hand upon her heart. 

" Holy Virgin ! who can it be ?" whispered Marcelle- 



236 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

"Perhaps it is only one of the neighbours," responded 
Mikel, who nevertheless looked as startled as the rest. 

" Open ! " said the voice ; and heavy blows on the door 
followed. 

" Who is there ? " cried Marcelle, running over to the 
door with her hand upon the key. 

" In the name of the Emperor !" was the reply. 

She threw open the door, and in ran Pipriac, armed, and 
followed by a file of gendarmes with fixed bayonets. His 
Bardolphian nose was purple with excitement, his little 
eye was twinkling fiercely, his short legs were quivering and 
stamping on the ground. 

" Tous les diables J " he cried, " why is your door locked at 
mid-day, I ask you, you who are honest people ? Do you 
not see I am in haste? Where is Corporal Derval?" 

" Here," answered the old man, straightening himself to 
" attention," but trembling with excitement. 

" It is strange news I bring you — news that will make you 
jump in your skins ; I cannot linger, but I was passing the 
door, and I thought you would like to hear. Ah, Mother 
Derval, good morrow ! — Ah, Mikel Grallon ! I have a mes- 
sage for you ; you must come with us and have some 
talk." 

" What is the matter, comrade ? " asked the Corporal in a 
husky voice. 

"This — the dead has risen ; ha, ha ! what think you of 
that ? — the dead has risen ! It is more wonderful than you 
can conceive, comrade, and you will not know whether to be 
sorry or glad ; but your nephew, the deserter, is not killed, — 
corbleu, he is like a cat or an eel, and I defy you to kill him ! 
Well, he is alive, and that is why we are here again ! " 

During this little scene Marcelle had scarcely once taken 
her eyes off Mikel Grallon, who showed more and more traces 
of confusion ; but now she advanced to the Sergeant and 
said in a voice low, yet quick with agony — 

" How do you know he is alive ? Have you seen him witb 
your eyes ?" 



THE HUE AND CRY. 237 

" Not I," answered Pipriac ; "but others have seen, and it 
is on their information I come. Maledictiot» .' how the girl 
stares ! She's as pale as a ghost." 

" Marcelle .'" cried the widow, still upon her knees. 

But Marcelle paid no heed ; white as a marble woman, she 
gazed in the irascible face of the little Sergeant. 

" You have had information !" she echoed in the same low 
voice. 

" Totes les diables ! yes. Is that so strange ? Some honest 
rascal " — here the Sergeant glanced rapidly at Mikel Grallon 
— "has seen the poor devil in his hiding-place, and has sent 
us word. If you ask me who has informed, I answer — That 
is our business ; though he were the fiend himself he will get 
the reward. Don't blame old Pipriac for doing his duty, 
that is all. It is no fault of mine, comrades. But I must 
not linger — Right about face, march ! — and, Mikel Grallon, a 
word with you." 

The ge7idarmes filed out of the cottage, and Pipriac, with a 
fierce nod to the assembled company, followed. Mikel 
Grallon was quietly crossing over to the door, when Marcelle 
intercepted him. 

" Stay, Mikel Grallon !" 

The fisherman stood still, not meeting the angry eyes of 
the girl, but glancing nervously at the Corporal, who had 
sunk into a chair and was holding his hand to his head as if 
in stupor. 

" I understand all now, Mikel Grallon," said Marcelle in a 
clear voice, " and you cannot deceive me any more. Go ! 
You are an ingrate — you are a wretch — you are not fit to 
live." 

Mikel, thus addressed, even by the woman he professed to 
love, gave the snarl of all low curs in extremity, and showed 
his teeth with a malicious expression, but he quailed before 
the eyes that were burning upon him. 

" You have watched night and day, you have hunted him 
down, and you will have the blood-money when he is found. 
Ves, you have betrayed him, and you have come here to de- 



238 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

ceive my uncle with a lie, that your wickedness might not be 
known. God will punish you ! — may it be soon !' : 

" It is false !" cried Mikel, scowling wildly. 

"It is you that are false ; false to my uncle, to my poor 
cousin, to me. I always hated you, Mikel Grallon, but now 
I would like to be your death. If I were a man I would kill 
you ! Go !" 

With a fierce look and an angry shrug of the shoulders the 
man passed out, quite cowed by the looks and gestures of the 
angry girl. It was characteristic of Marcelle that she could 
bear great agony in silence and in reticence, but that she 
could not bear the storm of her own passionate nature when 
once it rose. As Mikel disappeared, she uttered a wild cry, 
threw her arms up in the air, and then, for the second time 
in her life, swooned suddenly away 




CHAPTER XXVIII. 

ON THE CLIFFS. 

UT there among the cliffs, midway between the 
top of the precipice above and the wave- 
washed rocks below, a man is crouching, so 
still, so moveless, he seems a portion of the 
crag. 

It is one of those dark summer afternoons, when the 
heavens are misted with their own breath, and a cold blue- 
grey broods upon the sea, and there is no stir at all, either of 
sunshine, or wind, or wave. The roar of the sea can be 
heard miles away inland ; all is so very still ; and there is 
something startling in the shrill minute-cry of the great blue- 
backed gull, as it sails slowly along the water's edge, preda- 
tory as a raven, yet white and beautiful as a dove. 

Where the man sits, there is a niche in the cliff; a dizzy 
path leads to the rocks below, but overhead the precipice 
overhangs and is utterly inaccessible. Not one hundred 
yards away stands, roofless under heaven, the great natural 
Cathedral, and the man from where he sits can see the 
gleaming of its emerald floor, formed now by the risen tide. 
Over the Cathedral flocks of kittiwake gulls are hovering 
like white butterflies, uttering low cries which are quite 
drowned in the heavy cannonade of the sea. 

The sun is invisible, but the sullen purple which suffuses 
the western horizon shows that he is sinking to his setting ; 



240 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

and far out upon the water the fishing-boats are crawling 
like black specks to the night's harvest. It is the dark end of 
a dark day, a day of warm yet sunless calm. 

The man has been crouching in his niche for hours, listen- 
ing and waiting. At last he stirs, throwing up his head like 
some startled animal, and his eyes, wild and eager, look up 
to the dizzy cliffs above his head. Something flutters far 
above him, like a sea-gull flying, or like a handkerchief wav- 
ing ; and directly he perceives it he rises erect, puts his fin- 
ger and thumb between his teeth, and gives a shrill whistle. 
Could any mortal eye behold him now, it would look with 
pity ; for he is bareheaded, his beard has grown wild and 
long, his features are darkened and distorted with exposure 
to the elements, and the clothes he wears — a coloured shirt 
and bragon-bras — are almost in rags. His shirt is torn open 
at the shoulder, and his feet are bare. Altogether, he re- 
sembles some wild, hunted being, some wretched type of the 
primaeval woods, rather than a rational and a peaceful man. 

Looking up again eagerly, he sees something descending 
rapidly from the top of the cliff. It is a small basket, 
attached to a long and slender cord. As it descends, he 
stretches out his hands eagerly, and when it reaches him he 
pulls gently at the cord, as a signal to the person who stands 
above. Then taking from the basket some black bread, 
some coarse cheese, and a small flask containing brandy, he 
places them on the rock beside him, and pulls again softly at 
the cord, when the basket, thus emptied of its contents, 
rapidly re-ascends. 

His niche in the crag is a dizzy one, fitter for the feet of 
eagle or raven than those of a man ; but crouching close 
against the face of the crag, with his feet set firm, he proceeds 
rapidly, yet methodically, to satisfy his appetite. He is 
doubtless too hungry to delay ; his eyes, at least, have the 
eager gleam of famished animals. When his meal is over, 
he carefully gathers together what remains, and wraps it in a 
kerchief, which he unloosens from his neck. The brandy is 
his bonne-bouche, and he sips that slowly, drop by drop, as if 



ON THE CLIFFS, 241 

every drop is precious ; and so indeed it is, for already it 
lights his famished cheek with a new and more lustrous life. 
He sips only a portion, then thrusts the flask into his breast. 

Even now he seems in no hurry to go, but takes his siesta, 
watching the purple darkness deepen across the sea. There 
is a strange, far-away look in his eyes, which are gentle still, 
despite the worn and savage lineaments of his face. The 
smoke of the waters which break far beneath him rises up to 
his seat, and the great roar is in his ears, but he is too 
familiar with these things to heed them now ; he is occupied 
with his own thoughts, and half unconscious of external sights 
and sounds. 

But suddenly, as a hare starts in his form, the man stirs 
again — stands erect — looks up — listens ; and now he hears 
above him a sound more startling than the sea — the sound of 
human voices. A sick horror overspreads his features, and 
he begins, with swift and stealthy feet, to descend the 
dangerous path which leads to the shore ; but, as he does 
so, he is arrested by a cry far overhead. 

Looking up, he sees the gleam of human faces overhanging 
the gulf and glaring down upon him. He staggers for a 
moment and grows dizzy, but recovering himself in time, 
glides rapidly on ; as he goes, the wild cry rises again faintly 
overhead, and he knows that his pursuers have at last 
discovered him and are again upon his track. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 




'EAVING Kromlaix withhis gendarmes, Sergeant 
Pipriac at once made his way up to the great 
Menhir, and thence along the green plateau 
above the cliffs. In eager conversation with 
him walked Mikel Grallon, and behind them 
came excited groups of the population — men, women, and 
children — all in high excitement now the "hue and cry" had 
again begun. They had not proceeded far when they 
encountered Mother Gwenfern, creeping slowly along with 
her basket on her arm, and looking gaunt and pale as any 
ghost. Never one who stood upon much ceremony, Pipriac 
pounced upon the old woman with savage eagerness, and 
roundly announced his errand. 

" Aha ! and have we discovered you at last, Mother Loiz ? 
Tous les diables / Has old Pipriac found you out, though 
you thought him so blind, so stupid ? What have you got in 
your basket — tell me that ? Where do you come from ? 
where are you going ? Malediction ! stand and listen. 
Come, answer, where is he ? The Emperor is anxious about 
his health ; quick — spit it out ! " 

The old woman, now white as death, and with her lips 
quite blue, looked fixedly in the Sergeant's face, but made no 
reply. 



piy. 

" So you are dumb, mother ! — well, we shall find y 



ou a 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 243 

tongue. It is your own fault if old Pipriac is severe, mind 
that ; for you have not treated him fairly — you have led him 
up and down like a fool. Things like that cannot go on for 
ever ; the Emperor has a long nose to scent out deserters. 
Malediction ! " he added, with mock irascibility, " did you 
think to deceive the Emperor ?" 

Despite his air of cruelty and brutality, Pipriac was not 
altogether bad-hearted, and just then he could not quietly 
bear the steady reproach of the widow's face, which remained 
frozen in one terrible look, half agony, half defiance ; so there 
was more pity than unkindness in his heart when he took the 
basket from her, grumbled a minute over its emptiness, and 
then, with a comical frown, handed it back. All the time 
Mother Gwenfern kept silence, with an unearthly expression 
of pain in her pale grey eyes ; and when Pipriac swaggered 
away at the head of his myrmidons, and women from the 
village came up garrulously and joined her, she moved on in 
their midst with scarcely a word. All her soul was busy 
praying that the good God, who had assisted Rohan so well 
up to that hour, might still remain his friend, and preserve 
him again in the hour of his extremity. 

Leaving the majority of the stragglers behind them, and 
accompanied only by Mikel Grallon and a few men and 
youths of the village, Pipriac and the gendarmes pursued 
their way rapidly along the edges of the cliffs, now pausing 
to converse in hurried whispers and to gaze down the great 
granite precipices which lay beneath their feet, again hurrying 
on like hounds excited by a fresh scent. The party 
consisted of some twenty in all, and among them there could 
be counted no friend to the hunted man ; indeed, who would 
have dared, in those days of short shrift; and speedy doom, 
to avow friendship for any opponent of that fatal system 
which Napoleon was building up on the ashes of the 
Revolution ? In strict truth, there was little or no sympathy 
for Rohan, now that it was discovered that he still lived ; for 
the old prejudice against him had arisen tenfold, and not one 
map 'here, except perhaps Mikel Grallon, believed he was 



244 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

anything more than a feeble and effeminate coward ; unless, 
indeed, as Pipriac individually was inclined to affirm, he was 
simply a dangerous maniac, not properly responsible for his 
own actions. 

Never had the gigantic cliffs and crags, always lonely and 
terrible, looked so forbidding as on that day ; for the sullen, 
rayless sunset, and the dead, lifeless calm, deepened the 
effect of desolation. Rent as by earthquake and fantas- 
tically shapened by the sea, the vast columns and monoliths 
of crimson granite glimmered beneath like the fragments of 
some extinct world ; so that walking on the grass above, and 
peeping dizzily over, one seemed surveying a place of colossal 
tombs ; and on these tombs the moss and lichen drew their 
tracery of grey and gold, and out of their niches grew long 
scrunnel grass and rock ferns, and on them, silent, sat the 
raven and the speckled hawk of the crags, while the face of 
the cliff far under was still snowed with the darkening legions 
of the herring-gull. 

Whenever old Pipriac looked over, his head, unaccustomed 
to such depths, went round like a wheel, and he drew back 
with an expletive. Mikel Grallon, more experienced, took 
the survey coolly enough, but even he was careful not to 
approach too near to the edge. Here and there the sides 
were so worn away that close approach was highly danger- 
ous ; on the very brink the stones had detached and crumbled 
down, the rocks were loosening, and the grass was slippery 
as ice. 

Presently Mikel lifted up his hand and called a halt. They 
were standing on a portion of the cliffs which ran out, by a 
green ascent, to a sort of promontory. 

"Listen," said Mikel. "The Cathedral is right under us, 
and I will peep over and try if anything is to be seen." 

So saying, he cautiously approached the cliff, but when 
he was within some yards of it, he threw himself upon his 
stomach and crawled forward upon the ground until his face 
hung over the edge. He remained so long in this attitude 
that Pipriac grew impatient, and was growling out a remon- 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 245 

strance, when Mikel turned slowly round, beckoned, and 
pointed downward. He had gone as white as a sheet. 

Instantly, Pipriac and two or three of the gendarmes set 
down their guns, took off their cocked hats, approached, 
threw themselves on their stomachs, and crawled forward as 
Mikel Grallon had done. 

" Is it he ? " growled Pipriac, as he reached the edge. 

" Look ! " said Mikel Grallon. 

In a moment all their heads were hanging over the preci- 
pice, and all their faces, eager and open-mouthed, glaring 
wildly down. At first, all was dizzy and indistinct — a fright- 
ful gulf, at the foot of which crawled the sea, too far away for 
its thunder to be heard ; a gulf across which a solitary sea- 
gull flashed now and again, like a flake of wavering snow. 
Right under them, the precipice yawned inward, so that they 
hung sheer over the void of air. Beneath them, but some 
distance to the left, they saw the roofless walls of the 
Cathedral of St. Gildas stretching right out into the sea : 
but these walls, which to one below would seem so gigantic, 
seemed dwarfed by distance to comparative insignificance, 
lying as they did far below the heights of the inaccessible 
crags. 

" Where ? where ? " murmured Pipriac, with a face as red 
as crimson. 

" Right under, with his face looking down upon the sea." 

At that moment Rohan Gwenfern, startled by the voice, 
stirred and gazed up, and all simultaneously uttered a cry. 
Seen from above, he seemed of pigmy size, and to be walk- 
ing on places where there was not foothold for a fly ; and 
the cry that followed, when he staggered and looked up 
again, was one of horror and amaze. 

When Pipriac and the rest crawled back and rose to their 
feet, every face exhibited consternation ; and the voice of 
Pipriac shook. 

" He is the Devil ! " said the Sergeant. " No man could 
walk where he has walked, and not be smashed like an egg." 

" It was horrible to look at ! " said the gendarme Pierre. 

n 



246 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" No man can follow him," said Andre*. 

" Nonsense," cried Mikel Grallon. " He knows the cliffs 
better than others, that is all, and he is like a goat on his 
feet. You can guess now how he saved his neck that night 
when you fancied he was killed. Well, he will soon be taken, 
and there will be an end of his pranks." 

" We are wasting time," exclaimed Pipriac, who had been 
glaring with no very amiable light in his one eye at Mikel 
Grallon. " We must descend and follow, down the Stairs 
of St. Triffine ; but you four — Nicole, Jan, Bertram, Hoel — 
will stay above and keep watch on all we do. But mind, no 
bloodshed ! If he should ascend, take him alive." 

J( But if he should resist ? " said one of the men. 

" Malediction ! you are four to one. You others, march ! 
Come, Mikel Grallon ! " 

Leaving the four men behind, the others hastened on. 
They had not proceeded far when Pipriac uttered an excla- 
mation and started back ; for suddenly, emerging from the 
gulfs below, a living thing sprang up before them and stood 
on the very edge of the cliff, gazing at them with large 
startled eyes. It was Jannedik. 

" Mother of God ! " cried Pipriac, " my breath is taken 
away ; — yet it is only a goat." 

" It belongs to the mother of the deserter," said Grallon ; 
" it is a vicious beast, and as cunning as the Black Fiend. 
I have often longed to cut its throat with my knife, when I 
have seen Rohan Gwenfern fondling it as if it were a good 
Christian.'' 

Having recovered from her first surprise, Jannedik had 
slowly approached, and passed by the group with supreme 
unconcern. For a moment she seemed disposed to butt 
with her horned head at the gendarmes, who poked at her 
grimly with their shining bayonets, but after a moment's re- 
flection over the odds, which were decidedly against her, she 
gave a scornful toss of her head and walked away. 

They had now reached the Ladder of St. Triffine ; and, 
slowly following the steps cut in the solid rock, they descended 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 247 

until they emerged upon the shore. Looking up wnen they 
reached the bottom, they saw Jannedik standing far up 
against the sky, on the very edge of the chasm, and tranquilly 
gazing down. 

By this time it was growing quite dark in the shadow of 
the cliffs, and wherever they searched, under the eager guid- 
ance of Mikel Grallon, they found no traces of the fugitive. 
Grallon himself, at considerable risk, ascended part of the 
cliff down the face of which Rohan had so recently descend- 
ed ; but after he had reached a height of some fifty or sixty 
feet, he very prudently rejoined his companions on the solid 
shingle below. 

" If one had the feet of a fly," grumbled Pipriac, " one 
might follow him, but he walks where no man ever walked 
before." 

" He cannot be far away," said Mikel. " Out that way 
beyond the Cathedral there is no path even for a goat to 
crawl. It is in the Cathedral we must search, and fortunately 
the tide has begun to ebb out of the Gate." 

Another hour had elapsed, however, before the passage 
was practicable, and when, wading round the outlying wall 
which projected into the sea, they passed in under the Gate, 
the vast place was wrapped in blackness, and the early stars 
were twinkling above its roofless walls. Even Pipriac, 
neither by nature nor by education a superstitious man, felt 
awed and chilled. A dreadful stillness reigned, only broken 
by the dripping of the water down the sides of the furrowed 
rocks, by the low eerie cries of seabirds stirring among the 
crags, by the rapid whirr of wings passing to and fro in the 
darkness. Nothing was perceptible ; Night there had com- 
pletely assumed her throne, and the only lights were the ray- 
less lights of heaven far above. Ranged in rows along the 
walls sat numbers of cormorants, unseen, but ever and anon 
fluttering their heavy pinions as the strange footsteps 
startled them from sleep. 

The men spoke in whispers, and crept on timidly. 



248 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

u If we had brought a torch ! " said Pierre. 

" One would say the Devil was here in the darkness," 
growled Pipriac. 

Mikel Grallon made the sign of the cross. 

" The blessed St. Gildas forbid/' he murmured. " Hark, 
what is that?" 

There was a rush, a whirr, and a flock of doves, emerging 
from some dark cave, crossed the blue space overhead. 

" It is an accursed spot," said Pipriac ; " one cannot see 
well an inch before one's nose. Malediction ! one might as 
well look for a needle in the great sea. If God had made 
me a goat or an owl I might thrive at this work, but to 
grope about in a dungeon is to waste time." 

So the retreat was sounded in a whisper, and the party 
soon retraced their steps from the Cathedral, and \yere stand- 
ing in the lighter atmosphere of the neighbouring shore. 
Total darkness now wrapped the cliffs on every side. 

A long parley ensued, throughout which Mikel Grallon 
protested vehemently that Rohan could not be far away, 
and that if watch were kept all night he could not possibly 
escape. 

"Otherwise," averred the spy, "he will creep away 
directly the coast is clear and fly to some other part of the 
cliffs. My life upon it, he is even now watching to see us go. 
If he is to escape, good and well — I say nothing — I have 
clone my duty like a good citizen ; but if he is to be caught 
you must keep your eyes wide open till day." 

In honest truth, Pipriac would gladly have withdrawn for 
the night and returned to the pursuit in the morning ; for, 
after all, though he was zealous in his duty, he would just as 
soon have given the deserter another chance. Something in 
Grallon's manner, however, warned him that the man was a 
spy in more senses than one, and that any want of energy 
just then, if followed by the escape of Rohan, might be mis- 
represented at head-quarters. So it was decided that the 
Cathedral of St. Gildas, with all the circumjacent cliffs, 
should be kept under surveillance till daybreak. Despatch- 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 249 

ing two more members of his force to join the others on the 
cliff, and scattering his own force well over the seashore 
and under the face of the crags, he lit his pipe and proceeded 
to keep watch. 

The night passed quietly enough, despite some false 
alarms. At last, when every man was savage and wearied 
out, the dawn came, with a rising wind from the sea and 
heavy showers of rain. All the villagers, save only Mikel 
Grallon, had returned to their homes, shrugging their shoul- 
ders over what they deemed a veritable wild-goose chase. 

Once more, for the tide had again ebbed, Grallon led the 
way round under the Gate, and the lone Cathedral echoed 
with the sound of voices. Great black cormorants were still 
sitting moveless in the walls ; some floundered away to the 
water with angry wings, but many remained moveless within 
a few yards of the soldiers' bayonets. All now was bright 
and visible : — the crimson granite walls stretching out from 
the mighty cliff, the Gate hung with dripping moss as green 
as grass, the fantastic niches with their traceries of lichen 
green and red, the blocks upon the floor like black tombs, 
slimy with the oozy kisses of the salt tide, and the mighty 
architraves and minarets far above the roof of the Cathedral, 
and forming part of the overhanging crag. 

The men moved about like pigmies on the shingly floor, 
searching the nooks and crannies in the walls, prying this 
way and that way like men very ill-used, but finding no trace 
of any living thing. At every step he took Pipriac grew 
more irritated, for he was sorely missing his morning dram 
of brandy, and the gendarmes shared his irritation. 

"Tons les diables ! '" he cried, "one might come here 
hunting for crabs or shell-fish, but I see no hiding-place for 
anything bigger than a bird. Look you here ! The high 
tide fills this accursed place whenever it enters : there is the 
mark all round, as high as my hand can reach ; — and as for 
hiding up there in the walls, why only a limpet could do 
that, for they are as slippery as grass. Malediction ! let us 
depart. There is no deserter here. March !" 



250 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Stay," said Mikel Grallon. 

Pipriac turned upon him with a savage scowl. 

"Perdition ! what next?" 

" You have not searched everywhere." 

Pipriac uttered an oath ; his one eye glittered in a perfect 
fury. 

" You are an ass for your pains ! Where else shall we 
search ? Down thy throat, fisherman ? " 

" No," answered Grallon with a sickly smile; "up yon- 
der ! " and he pointed with his hand. 

"Where?" 

" Up in the Trou .' " 

The great Altar of the Cathedral, which we have already 
described to the reader "as consisting of a lovely curtain of 
moss covering the cliff for about fifty square feet, was glim- 
mering with its innumerable jewels of prismatic and ever« 
changing dew ; and just above it was the dark blot on which 
Marcelle had gazed in terror when she stood before the Altar 
with Rohan. High as the gallery of some cathedral, the 
Trou, or Cave, out of the heart of whicn tfra mystic water 
flowed, loomed remote, and to all seemed inaccessible. As 
Pipriac gazed up, a flock of pi/;eons pass* d overhead and 
plunged into the Cave, but instantly emerging again, they 
scattered swiftly and disappeared over the Cathedral walls. 

" Did you mark that ?" said GralLon, sinking his voice. 

Pipriac, who was gazing up with a disgusted expression, 
scowled unamiably. 

" What, fisherman ? " 

" The blue doves. They entered the Trou, but no sooner 
did they disappear than they returned again." 

" And then ? " 

" The Cave is not empty, that is all." 

Pipriac uttered an exclamation, and all the men looked in 
stupefaction at one another, while Grallon smiled compla- 
cently and cruelly to himself. 

" But it is impossible," exclaimed the Sergeant at last. 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 251 

" Look ! The walls are as straight as my hand ; and the 
moss is so slippery and soft that no man could climb ; and 
as' to entering from above — why, see how the crags over- 
hang. If he is there, he is the Devil ; if he is the Devil, we 
shall never lay hands upon him. Malediction ! " 

It certainly did seem incredible at first sight that any 
human being could have reached the Cave — if Cave it was — 
from above or from under, unassisted by a ladder or a rope. 
Mikel Grallon, however, being well acquainted with the 
place, soon demonstrated that ascent, though difficult and 
perilous in the extreme, was not altogether impossible,. In 
the extreme corner of the Cathedral, close to what we have 
termed the Altar, the cliff was hard and dry, and here and 
there were interstices into which a climber might press his 
hands and feet, and so crawl tedious'ly upward. 

" I tell you this,'' said Mikel whispering, " it can be done, 
for I have seen the man himself do it. You have but to in- 
sert toes and fingers thus " — here he illustrated his words by 
climbing a few yards — "and up you go." 

" Good," said Pipriac grimly ; " I see you are a clever 
fellow, and understand the trick of it. Lead the way, and 
by the soul of the Emperor we will follow ! " 

Mikel Grallon grew quite white with annoyance and 
mortification. 

" I tell you he is there." 

" And I tell you we will follow if you will show us how to 
climb. Malediction ! do you think old Pipriac is afraid ? 
Come, forward ! What, you refuse ? Well, I do not blame 
you ; for I have said it, only the Devil could climb there." 

Turning to his men, however, he continued in a louder 
voice — 

" Nevertheless, we will astonish the birds. Pierre, take 
aim at the Trou yonder. Fire ! " 

The gendarme levelled his piece at the dark hole far above 
him and fired. There was a crash, a roar, a murmur of 
innumerable echoes, and suddenly, overhead, hovered 
countless gulls, shrieking and flying, attracted by the report. 



252 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

For a moment, it seemed as if the very crags would fall and 
crush the pigmy shapes below. 

" Again ! " said Pipriac, signalling to another of his men. 

The concussion was repeated ; fresh myraids of gulls shut 
out the sky like a blinding snow, and shrieked their pro- 
testations ; but there came no other sign. 

" One would say the very skies were falling," growled 
Pipriac. " Bah ! he is not there." 

At that moment, the gendarmes, who were still gazing 
eagerly upward, uttered an exclamation of wonder. A head 
was thrust out of the Trou, and two large eyes were eagerly 
gazing down. 

The exclamation of wonder was speedily followed by one 
of anger and disappointment ; for the head was not that of a 
human being but that of a goat ; no other, indeed, than our 
old friend Jannedik, who, with her two fore-feet on the edge of 
the Cave, and her great grave face gleaming far up in the 
morning light, seemed quietly demanding the reason of that 
unmannerly tumult. Mikel Grallon ground his teeth and 
called a thousand curses on the unfortunate animal, while 
the gendarme Pierre, cocking his piece with a look at his 
Sergeant, seemed disposed to give Jannedik short shrift. 

But Pipriac, with a fierce wave of the hand, bade the 
gendarme desist, and warned his men generally to let 
Jannedik alone ; then turning to Mikel Grallon, he continued 
sneeringly — 

" So this is your deserter, fisherman ? — a poor wretch of a 
goat, with a beard and horns ! Did I not say you were an 
ass for your pains ? Madediction ! the very beast is laughing 
at you ; I can see the shining of her white teeth." 

" Since the brute is yonder," answered Grallon angrily, 
" the master is not far away. If we had but a ladder ! You 
would see, you would see ! " 

" Bah ! " 

And Pipriac turned his back upon Grallon in disgust, and 
signalled to his men to depart. 

" Then if he escapes, do not say that I am to blame," 



THE FACES IN THE CAVE. 253 

cried the fisherman, still in a low voice. " I would wager 
my boat, my nets, all I have, that he hides in yonder, and is 
afraid to show his face. Is not the goat his, and what is the 
goat doing up in the Tron ? Ah, I tell you that you are 
wrong, Sergeant Pipriac ! I have watched for nights and 
nights, and I know well where he hides. I did not come to 
you before I had made certain. As sure as I am a living 
man, as sure as I have a soul to be saved, he is up yonder, 
up in the Troit ! " 

Despite the intensity and evident honesty of this asser- 
tion, Pipriac did not vouchsafe any further reply ; — and he 
and his men had turned their sullen faces towards the Gate, 
when a voice far above them said, in low clear tones, which 
made them start and turn suddenly in a wild amaze — 

"Yes, Mikel Grallon, I am here." 




CHAPTER XXX. 

A PARLEY. 

LL looked up ; and there, standing high above 
them at the mouth of the Cave, with dis- 
hevelled hair and a beard of many weeks' 
growth, was the man they sought — so worn 
and torn, so wild and ragged, that only his 
great stature made him recognisable. The goat had dis- 
appeared, either into the Cave or up the face of the cliff, and 
Rohan was alone, his whole figure exposed to the view of his 
pursuers. Standing there in the morning light, with his 
naked neck and arms, his ruined garment, his uncovered 
head, his features distorted and full of the quick-panting 
intensity of a hunted animal, he showed the traces alike of 
great mental agony and physical suffering ; but over and 
beyond its predominant look of pain, his face displayed 
another passion, akin to hate in its quick and dangerous 
intensity, and his eyes, which were fixed on Mikel Grallon, 
burnt with a fierce fire. At first, indeed, it seemed as if he 
would precipitate himself like an enraged beast prone down 
upon the spy, — but such an act would have been certain and 
immediate death, so great was the height at which he stood. 
He remained at the mouth of the Cave, panting and watch- 
ing. As to Grallon, he almost crouched in his sudden 
consternation and fear ; while Pipriac and the gendarmes 
stared up at the vision, too stupefied at first to utter a word. 



A PARLEY. 255 

" Holy Virgin ? " cried Pipriac at last, " it is he ! " — then 
he added with a fierce nod and at the pitch of his voice, 
" So ! you are there, mon garz J '" 

Rohan made no reply, but kept his eyes fixed on Mikel 
Grallon. Pipriac pursued his speech uneasily, like one that 
felt the awkwardness of the situation. 

" We have been waiting a long time, but now we are glad 
to find you at home. What are you doing up there, so high 
in the air ? Diable, one might as well fly like a bird ! Well, 
there is no time to lose, and now that we have found you, 
you had better come down at once. Come, surrender ! In 
the name of the Emperor ! " 

At these words the gendarmes gripped their guns and fell 
back in military line, looking up at the Trent and ready to 
fire at the word of command. The situation was an exciting 
one, but Rohan merely put up his hand to throw back his 
hair from his eyes, smiled, and waited. 

" Come, do you hear ? " proceeded Pipriac. " I shall not 
waste words, mark you, if you delay too long. The game is 
up ; — we have trumped your last card, and you will gain 
little by stopping up there like a bird on its nest. Descend, 
Rohan Gwenfern, descend and surrender, that we may lose 
no time." 

The voice of the old martinet rang loudly through the 
hollow walls of the Cathedral, and died away among the 
lonely cliffs above. All below was in shadow, but overhead 
on the cliff the chill light was gleaming as on a polished 
mirror, and one lonely sunbeam, severed as it were from its 
companions, was glimmering right down upon the inacces- 
sible Troti and on the figure of Rohan. So the man stood 
dimly illumed, in all his raggedness and physical desolation ; 
and the light touched his matted golden hair, and stole 
down and glared upon his feet, which were quite naked. 

"What do you want ?" he asked in a hollow voice. 

The irascible Sergeant shook his fist. 

" Want ? . . . Hear him ! . . . Well, you ! Diable, have 
we not been searching up and down the earth until our souls 



256 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

are sick of searching ? It is a good joke, to ask what we 
want ; you are laughing at us, fox that you are. Surrender, 
I repeat ! In the name of the Emperor ! " 

Then, as if carried away by a common inspiration, all the 
gendarmes brandished their weapons, echoing " Surrender ! " 
The Cathedral rang with the cry. After a pause, the 
answer came from above, iri a low yet clear and decided 
voice — 

" You are wasting your time. I will never be taken 
alive." 

Pipriac glared up in astonishment ; and now, for the first 
time, Mikel Grallon looked up too, still with sensations the 
reverse of comfortable, for the figure of the hunted man 
seemed terrible as that of some wild beast at bay. The 
black mouth of the Cave was now illuminated, and far over- 
head clouds of gulls were hovering like flakes of snow in the 
morning light ; but the floor and roofless walls of the 
Cathedral, never lit unless the sun was straight above them 
in the zenith, were untouched by the golden gleam. 

"No nonsense!" shrieked Pipriac. "Come down! 
Come, or " — here the speaker glared imbecilely up the 
inaccessible walls — " or we shall come and take you." 

" Come ! " said Rohan. 

Pipriac was a man who, although his blustering and 
savage manners concealed a certain fundamental good- 
nature, could never bear to be openly thwarted or placed in 
a ridiculous position ; and now a complication of sentiments 
made him unusually irritable. In the first place, he would 
much rather have never discovered the deserter at all ; for, 
after all, he pitied the man and remembered that he was the 
son of an old friend. Again, he had, he considered, behaved 
throughout the whole pursuit with extraordinary sympathy 
and forbearance, and had thereby almost laid himself open 
to the suspicion of lacking " zeal." Lastly — and this feeling 
was perhaps the most powerful and predominant at the 
moment — he had been up all night, without a drop of liquor 
to wet his lips, and insomuch as that Bardolphian nose of his 



A PAULEY. 257 

was a flame that, when not fed with natural stimulants, 
preyed fiercely on the temper of its owner, he was in no 
mood to be crossed — especially by one who had so stupidly 
allowed himself to be discovered. So he took fire instantly 
at Rohan's taunt, and snatching from one of the gendarmes 
his loaded gun, he cocked it rapidly. 

" I will give you one minute," he cried, " then, if you do 
not surrender, I shall fire. Do you hear that, deserter ? 
Come, escape is useless — do not be a fool, for I mean what 
I say ; I will pick you off from your perch as if you were a 
crow." After a pause, he added, " Are you ready ? time 
is up ! " 

Rohan had not stirred from his position ; but now, with a 
strange smile on his face, he stood looking down at his 
tormentors. Standing thus, with his tall frame fully exposed, 
he presented an easy mark for a bullet. 

" Once more, are you ready ? In the name of the 
Emperor ! " 

Rohan replied quietly, without stirring — 

" I will never surrender." 

In a moment there was a flash, a roar, and Sergeant 
Pipriac had fired. But when the smoke cleared away they 
saw Rohan still standing uninjured at the mouth of the Cave, 
tranquilly looking down as if nothing whatever had occurred. 
The bullet had struck and been flattened against the rock in 
his close vicinity, but whether Pipriac had really taken aim 
at his person, or had simply fired off the weapon with the 
view of intimidating him, is a question that cannot easily be 
answered. If intimidation was his object, he reckoned 
without his man, for Rohan Gwenfern was the last person 
in the world to be scared into submission by any such 
means. 

No sooner was it discovered that Pipriac's bullet had 
missed its mark than all the other gendarmes had their 
weapons cocked and ready to fire also, but the Sergeant im- 
mediately interposed, with a savage growl, 

" Halt arms ! Tous les diables, he who fires before I tell 



258 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

him shall smart for his pains ; " then, once more addressing 
Rohan, he cried, " Well, you are still alive ! Perhaps, then, 
after all you will be rational, and come quietly down and 
trust to the mercy of the Emperor. Look you, I promise 
nothing, but I will do my best. In any case, you will be 
done for if you stay up there, for you cannot escape us, that 
is certain. Now then ! I am giving you another chance 
Which is it to be?" 

" I will never become a soldier." 

" It is too late for that," said Mikel Grallon, speaking for 
the first time and addressing Pipriac. " Besides, look you, 
he is a coward." 

Rohan, who heard every syllable, so clearly and audibly 
did sound travel among those silent cliffs, gazed down at the 
spy with a fierce look, and seemed once more prepared to hurl 
himself bodily from the height where he stood. Recovering 
himself, he again addressed his speech to Pipriac. 

" I tell you, you are wasting time. Perhaps I am a coward, 
is Mikel Grallon says ; but one thing is certain, that I will 
never go to war, and that I will never give myself up alive." 

" Alive or dead, we shall have you — there is no 
escape." 

" Perhaps." 

" Up yonder my men are on the watch ; this way, that 
way, all ways they are posted. Take old Pipriac's word for 
it, and give in like a sensible man ; — you are surrounded." 

" That is true." 

" Ha ha, then you admit that I am teaching you good 
sense. Very well ! If evil happens, don't say old Pipriac 
did not warn you ! Come along ! " 

The answer from above was a quick spasmodic laugh, full 
of the hollow ring of a bitter and despairing heart. Leaning 
over from the mouth of the Cave, Rohan pointed quietly out 
at the Gate of St. Gildas, saying — 

" If I am surrounded, so are you. Look ! " 

Pipriac turned involuntarily, as did all the other members 
of the group. The first man to understand the true position 



A PARLEY. 259 

of affairs was Mikel Grallon, who, the moment his eyes 
glanced through the Gate, uttered the exclamation — 

" Holy Virgin, he is right — it is the tide ! " 

Sure enough, the sea had turned and was foaming whitely 
just beyond the Gate. A few minutes more, and it would 
enter the Cathedral, when retreat would be impossible. 
Grallon rushed towards the Gate, crying, " Follow ! there is 
not a moment to lose ; " but Pipriac, who, though irascible 
under slight provocation, never lost his head in an emer- 
gency, stood his ground and looked up at the Cave. Rohan, 
however, was no longer visible. 

" Diable / " cried the Sergeant, shaking his fist up at the 
spot where the deserter had just been standing. " Never 
mind ! Give him a volley ! " 

In a moment the ge71darm.es had discharged their pieces 
right into the mouth of the Cave ; there was a horrible con- 
cussion, and thunder reverberating far up among the cliffs. 
Then all fled for their lives. 

They were just in time ; but passing round the point of land 
which led to the safe shingle beyond the Cathedral, they had 
to wade to the waist, for it was a high spring tide. The re- 
treat was decidedly ignominious, and little calculated to im- 
prove the temper of Pipriac and his troop. Coming round 
to the dry land immediately under the Ladder of St. Triffine, 
they found a great gathering from the village, men and 
women, young and old, waiting, chattering, wondering. 
Among them were Alain and Jannick Derval, with their 
sister Marcelle. 

The horrible fascination to see and know the worst had 
been too great for Marcelle to resist, and she had been 
drawn thither with the rest, almost against her will. De- 
scending the Ladder, she had found the tide rising round 
the point which led to the Cathedral, and had crouched 
down, wildly listening, when the reports from the neighbour- 
ing Gate broke upon her ear. What could those shots 
mean ? Had they discovered him — was he fighting for his 



2&o THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

life, and were they shooting him down ? Her face grew like 
a murdered woman's as she waited, with the hum of voices 
around her sounding as in a dream. Then as the gendarmes 
appeared wading round to shore with shouldered muskets, 
she had sprung to her feet, eagerly perusing their faces as 
they came. Others flocked around them too, with eager 
questions. But Pipriac, cursing not loud but deep, pushed 
his way through the crowd followed by his men, neither of 
whom uttered a word. 

Mikel Grallon was following when he felt his arm fiercely 
seized ; he was about to shake off the offending grip, when 
turning slightly, he recognised Marcelle. 

" Speak, Mikel Grallon ! " said the girl, her large eyes 
burning with an unnatural light. " What have they done ? 
Have they found him ? Is he killed ? " 

Honest Mikel shook his head, with what was meant to be 
a reassuring smile. 

" He is safe — yonder in the Cathedral of St. Gildas." 

" In the Cathedral ? " 

" Up in the Trou J " 

There was a general murmur, for, although the words were 
specially addressed to Marcelle, an eager throng had caught 
the news. Marcelle released her spasmodic hold, and 
Grallon passed on up to the shore, rejoining Pipriac and his 
satellites, who stood consulting together in a group. 

And now, like a fountain that is suddenly unfrozen from 
its prison in the ground, the long-suppressed love of Mar- 
celle Derval rose murmuring within her heart. All things 
were forgotten save that Rohan lived, and that he was 
engaged against overwhelming odds in a frightful fight for 
life ; not even the Emperor was remembered, nor the fact that 
it was against the Emperor that Rohan stood in revolt ; it 
was enough for the time being to feel that Rohan had arisen, 
and with him her old passionate dream. Only a few hours 
before she had moved about like a shadow, certain of nothing 
save of a great void within her soul, of a great unutterable 
loss and pain ; then had come Mikel Grallon'* discovery— 



A PARLEY. 261 

then the sound of the hue and cry ; so that, indeed, she ha</ 
scarcely had time to collect her thoughts rightly and to look 
her fate in the face. Despair had been easy ; hope, the 
faint wild hope that had now come, was not so easy. She 
had kept still and dead amid the frost of her great grief, but 
when the light came, and the winds and rains were loosened, 
she bent like a tree before the storm. 

Not without pride did she now remember her lover's 
strength, and observe how it had hitherto conquered and 
been successful. He was there, unarmed, within a little dis- 
tance, and yet he had escaped his enemies again, as he had 
often escaped them before ; indeed, there seemed a charm 
upon his life, and perhaps the good God loved him after all ! 

Gradually, from group to group the intelligence spread that 
Rohan Gwenfern had ensconced himself up in the Tron d 
Gildas, the black and terrible abyss into which few feet save 
his own had ever passed ; and that there, night after night, 
he hid alone, communing perhaps with ghastly spirits of the 
darkness. For the place, all folk knew, was haunted, and 
few men there would have cared to pass along that strange 
Cathedral-floor at dead of night. Did not the phantoms oi 
the evil monks still wander, moaning for mercy to the pitiless 
Saint who cast them into eternal chains ? Had not the 
awful Saint himself been seen, again and again, holding 
spectral vigil, while the seals came creeping about his knees, 
and the great cormorants sat gazing silently at him from the 
dripping walls ? The place was terrible, curst for the living 
till endless time. He who lingered there safely must either 
have made an unholy pact with the Prince of Evil, or be under 
the special protection of the Saint of God. 

As to this last point, opinion was divided. A few grim 
pessimists held firmly that Rohan had sold himself body and 
soul to " Master Roberd," who, in his turn, had carried him 
safely through so many dangers, and was now watching over 
him carefully in his " devil's nest," up in the Tron. The 
majority, however, were inclined to think that a good Spirit, 
not a bad, had taken the matter in hand, and that this 

s 



262 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

good Spirit might be the blessed St. Gildas himself. There 
was a strong undercurrent of anti- Imperial feeling, which 
speedily resolved itself into an unmistakable sympathy with 
the deserter, and a belief that he was under Divine protection. 

After a rapid consultation with his subordinates Pipriac 
determined to despatch a messenger to St. Gurlott for more 
assistance, and meantime to keep a careful watch from every 
side on the now inundated Cathedral. Of one thing he was 
assured, that escape out of the Cave was impossible, so long 
as the cliffs above and the shore below were carefully 
guarded. There was no secret way which the fugitive might 
take ; he must either, at the almost certain risk of life, creep 
right upward along the nearly inaccessible face of the crag, 
or he must swim out to sea, or he must pass round to the 
shore by the way the others had gone and come. Further 
away in the direction of the village, a great precipitous head- 
land projected, surrounded on every side and at all tides by 
the sea, and quite impassable. 

" He is in the trap," growled Pipriac, " and only God or the 
Devil can get him out ! " 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



IN THE CAVE. 




■ HILE his pursuers were speculating and de- 
liberating, Rohan Gwenfern waited solitary up 
in his hiding-place, making no attempt at 
flight ; which, indeed, he well knew to be at 
present impossible. Now and then he listened, 
but the only sound he heard was the sea creeping in and 
covering the vast Cathedral-floor. He was safe, at least for 
the time being, since the waters washed below and no human 
feet could reach him from above. 

He lay within a vast natural cave, hewn in the very heart 
of the granite crags, and dimly lit by the rays that crept in 
by its narrow mouth, or Trou. Great elliptic arches, 
strangely hung with purple moss and soot-black fungi, 
loomed overhead, while on every side down the lichen- 
covered walls sparkled a dewy fretwork resembling that 
external curtain of glittering mosaic which we have called 
the " Altar." The place was vast and shadowy as the vault 
of some cathedral built by hands, so that one could not well 
discern its exact extent ; and here and there its walls were 
gashed with streams of water, falling down and stretching 
out into blackest pools. The air was damp and cold, and 
would have been fatal to one of tender frame ; but Rohan 
breathed it with the comfort of a hardy animal. In a corner 



26 i THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

of the Cave he had strewn a thick bed of dried seaweed, on 
which he was lying. By his side, and near to his hand, were 
his fowler's staff, a pair of sabots, and part of a black loaf ; 
while in a fissure of the wall above his bed was fixed a small 
rude lamp of tin. 

Here, in complete solitude, and often in total darkness, he 
had passed many a night, and whether it was calm or storm 
he had slept sound. He was well used to such haunts, and 
his powerful physique was in no way affected by the exposure 
— indeed, had it not been for the constant anxiety of mind 
created by his horrible situation, he might have remained 
entirely unchanged. But even animals, however vigorous by 
nature, will waste away to skin and bone under the strain ol 
perpetual fear and persecution ; and so Rohan had grown 
into the shadow of his former self — a gaunt, forlorn, hunted 
man, with large eyes looking out of a face pale with unutter- 
able pain. His garments, not new when he first took flight, 
had turned into sorry rags, through which gleamed the 
naked flesh ; his hair fell below his shoulders in a wild and 
matted mass ; his beard and moustache had grown pro- 
fusely ; and upon his arms and limbs were cuts and bruises 
left by dangerous falls. One foot was swollen and partly 
useless — a fact over which his pursuers would have gloated 
— for it left him practically in their power, and less able than 
usual to pursue his frequent flights among the cliffs, even 
had an opportunity offered. 

Mikel Grallon had suspected shrewdly when he guessed 
that Rohan owed his daily subsistence to the secret help of 
his infirm mother. Twice or thrice weekly Mother Gwenfern 
had come secretly to the neighbourhood, bearing with her 
such provisions as she was able to prepare with her own 
hands ; these she had secretly given to her son, .or placed 
them with preconcerted signals on the places she knew him to 
frequent, or even (as we have seen on one occasion) let them 
right down to his hiding-place from the top of the cliffs. 
Without this assistance the man would necessarily have 
starved, for it was physically impossible to exist solely on the 



IN THE CA VE. 265 

shell-fish and dulse which he was in the habit of gathering 
from the sea. 

He was not now alone in the Cave. The goat Jannedik 
was perambulating uneasily to and fro, carefully keeping at 
a distance from the mouth, through which so alarming a 
volley had lately been raining. From time to time she came 
up close, and rubbed her head into his hand, as if soliciting 
an explanation of the extraordinary scene which had just 
taken place. 

The visits of Jannedik to her master's hiding-place had 
been erratic. She had first discovered him by accident, 
tfhile roaming at random, as was her custom, among the 
cliffs ; then, once acquainted with his haunts, she had come 
again ; and now seldom a day passed without a visit from 
her, however brief. Her coming and going soon became an 
exciting event, for when she appeared Rohan did not feel 
altogether without companionship, and she had strange wild 
ways to soothe a human heart. Nor was this all. Many a 
secret communication had been concealed about the goat's 
thick coat, and borne from the fugitive to his mother in her 
cottage. 

More than an hour had passed since Pipriac and the rest 
had fled from the Cathedral, when Rohan rose from his seat 
and passed out again into the open air at the cavern's mouth. 
All was perfectly still ; the green water filled the floor of the 
Cathedral, covering all its weedy tombs, and a seal was 
swimming round and round, seeking in vain to find a land- 
ing-place along the walls. Standing up there, he felt like 
one suspended between water and sky. 

So far there had been a certain fierce satisfaction in resist- 
ing what so many living men deemed the Irresistible. 
Weak and single-handed as he was, he had stood up in 
revolt against the Emperor — had openly and unhesitatingly 
defied him and abjured him — had conjured up on his behalf 
all the power and elements of Nature — had cried to the 
Earth, " Hide me \" and to the Sea, "Protect me !" and 
had not cried in vain. True, he had suffered in the struggle, 



266 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

as all that revolt must suffer ; but so far no specially evil 
consequence, apart from his own unpleasant experiences, had 
ensued from the attitude he had taken. He had certainly 
obeyed the behest of his conscience, and that to him, then, 
and thenceforth for ever, was the veritable voice of God. 

In those hours of dark extremity Marcelle Derval was to 
him both an anguish and a consolation : an anguish, because 
he feared that she loved him no longer, that her sympathy 
was with his enemies, that she believed him to be a renegade 
from a good cause, a traitor, and a coward — a consolation, 
because he remembered all that she had been to him, and 
because, night after night, passionate and loving as of old, 
she came to him in dreams. Many a lonely hour, when no 
soul was near, he had lingered in the centre of the Cathedral, 
going over in his mind all the details of that divine day when 
first he clasped her in his arms and felt her virgin kiss upon 
his mouth. 

" Solitude to him 
Was sweet society," 

when he had for companionship her quiet image. He saw 
her then as a little child, walking with him hand in hand 
along the sands of the village ; or, as a happy girl, climbing 
with him the lonely crags, and watching him as he gathered 
cliff-flowers and sea-birds' eggs ; or, as a holy maiden, kneel- 
ing by his side before the altar of the little chapel of Notre 
Dame de la Garde. Such happy memories are consecrated 
gleams, which make this low earth Heaven. 

Yet he had lost her, that was clear ; he had chosen his lot 
with the outcasts of the earth, with those Esaus who refuse 
to acquiesce in the accepted jurisdiction of the world, and 
who map out a perilous existence for themselves at the cost 
of family, caste, peace of body and mind, sympathy, and 
social honour. He might as well — (nay, far better from this 
mundane point of view) — have denied his God as have 
denied his Emperor ; for the Emperor seemed omnipotent, 
while God remained so acquiescent in evil, and so far away 



IN THE CA VE. 267 

Faith in the divine order of things had long forsaken him. 
His only reliance now was on Nature, and on his own heart ; 
for if the worst came to the worst he could die. 

With every hour and every day that he brooded thus his 
hate of War grew deeper, the justification of his resistance 
seemed more absolute. Even if safe submission had then 
been possible, on the condition that he recanted and joined 
the great army that did Napoleon's will, he would have 
resisted with even more tenacity than at the first, for he was 
a man in whom ideas grow and multiply themselves, and 
become sinews of strength to the secret will. With his 
moral certainty deepened his physical horror. In the dark- 
ness of that lonely Cave he had conjured up such Phantoms 
of the battle-field as might fitly people the blood-red fields of 
Hell ; all that he had read, all that he had fancied and 
feared, took tangible shapes, and moved to and fro along 
those sunless walls ; ghastly spectres and adumbrations of 
an all too horrible reality, they came there from time to time, 
paralyzing his heart with despair and fear. 

So that, after all, if we must have it so, he was in a certain 
sense of the word a Coward, capable of the nervous prostra- 
tion cowards feel. He had senses over keen and subtle, 
and could detect even there in his Cave the fatal scent 
which is found in slaughter-houses where cattle are slain, 
and on battle-fields where men are butchered ; he could 
hear the cry of the stricken, hold the cold hand of the dead ; 
he was conscious of the widow weeping and the orphan 
wailing ; and he beheld the burning trail which the War- 
Serpent left wherever it crawled, the blood and tears which 
fell to earth, the fire and smoke which rose to heaven. 
With more than a poet's vision — with the conjuration of 
a vivid imagination stirred by deep personal dread — he 
could see and hear these things. Each man bears his 
own Inferno within his breast ; and these were Rohan 
Gwenfern's. 

In due time the tide, which had risen high up the walls of 



i6S THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the Cathedral, and was shining smooth as glass and green 
as malachite, began to ebb out through the Gate. Rohan 
stood watching it from the Trou, while gradually it sank lowel 
and lower, till a man might have waded waist-deep on the 
shingly floor. Gradually the great weed-covered boulders 
and granite slabs became visible, and a certain space im- 
mediately under the Cave was left quite dry. Standing thus, 
Rohan calculated his chances. Ascent was certainly 
possible, though difficult in the extreme, and beyond measure 
dangerous : impossible certainly to a man encumbered by 
arms or any heavy weapon. Nor could more than one man 
approach at a time, that was certain. In a word, Rohan's 
position was virtually impregnable, so long as he kept upon 
the watch. 

Just then Jannedik came out from the Cave, and" began 
quietly to walk upwards. Her path was easy for some dis- 
tance, being the same path by which Rohan had lately 
descended, but when she had passed a certain point she 
became as a fly walking up a perpendicular wall. At last, 
without once slipping a foot, she disappeared ; like a bird 
fading away into the skies. 

Which skies had darkened again, and were blurred with a 
dark mist. The rain, blown in from the sea, was beating 
pitilessly against the face of the cliffs, deepening to moist 
purple their granite stains, and lighting up liquid gleams in 
their grassy fissures. It fell now heavily on Rohan, but he 
scarcely heeded it : he was water-proof ; besides it was warm 
rain, such as steals sweet scent from the boughs in autumn 
woods and lanes. 

Slowly, calmly, quite sheltered from the wet wind which 
blew without, the sea ebbed from the Cathedral, until at last 
it all disappeared through the Gate, and only the glistening 
walls and shingle showed that it had been lately there. The 
sea washed, and the rain fell, and the wind moaned, while 
Rohan stood waiting and watching. Presently he heard 
another sound, faintly wafted to him through the Gate. 
Human voices ! His pursuers were returning. 



IN THE CA VE. 269 

As the sounds came nearer and nearer, he quietly with- 
drew into the Cave. 

Pipriac and the gendarmes did not return alone ; besides 
Mikel Grallon, there came a swarm of villagers, men and 
women, excited and expectant. From time to time the 
Sergeant turned upon them and drove them back with oaths, 
but, after retreating a few yards, they invariably drew nigh 
once more. Pipriac could do nothing, for he was in a 
minority, and they numbered three or four score ; and so 
now, when he re-entered the Cathedral with his men, the 
crowd, chattering and pointing, blocked up the Gate and 
partially filled the Cathedral. 

From the darkness of his Cave, Rohan, himself unseen, 
could behold this picture ; leaning forward to the Trou } but 
keeping well in darkness, he looked down upon the pigmy 
shapes below him, — first, Pipriac and the others, crawling up 
towards the "Altar" like so many dwarfs, their bayonets 
glittering, their voices muttering, — then the villagers in their 
quaint dresses of many colours, gazing up in wonder and 
tremulous anticipation. Suddenly his heart leapt within him 
and he grew ghastly pale ; for behold, standing apart, some 
yards in front of the group from the village, he recognised 
Marcelle, quietly looking upward. He could see her pale 
face set in its saffron coif, he could feel the light of her large 
upturned eyes. What had brought her there ? Ah, God, 
was she leagued against him with his persecutors ? Had 
she come to behold his misfortune and degradation, perhaps 
his death ? Sick with such thoughts, he strained his painful 
sight upon her, forgetting all else in the intensity of his 
excitement. So a wild animal gazes from its lair when the 
cruel hunters are close at hand. 

And now, O Pipriac, to business ; for ye are many against 
one, and the Emperor is impatient to settle the affair of this 
revolter, that of him may be made a terror and a shining 
example to all the flock ! Fetch him down, O Pipriac, from 
his hiding-place : draw the fox from his hole into full day ; 



270 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

spare not, but take him alive, with a view to full and proper 
retribution ! It is useless, indeed, to stand here with thy 
myrmidons, with so many gaping throats, staring up, as if 
the deserter would drop into thy mouth ! 

Yet this is exactly what Pipriac is doing, and, indeed, the 
more he stares and gapes the more puzzled does he become. 
If one were a bird or a fly, yea, or a snail, one might climb 
up yonder to the Cave, but being a man, and moreover a 
man not too steady on thejlegs, Pipriac justly deems the feat 
impossible ; nevertheless, he suggests to this comrade and 
to that, and notably to Mikel Grallon, the performance of 
that forlorn hope ; with not much result, save grumbling 
refusals and mutinous looks. Meantime, he grows savage, 
for he believes the villagers are laughing at his discomfiture, 
and, finding deeds impossible, again has recourse to -words. 

" What ho, deserter ! Listen ! Are you here ? Diable^ 
do you hear me ? Attend ! " 

There is no answer save the echoes reverberating from 
cliff to cliff. 

" Malediction ! " cries the Sergeant. " If he should be 
gone." 

" That is impossible," said Mikel Grallon. " Unless he is 
a ghost, he is still there." 

"And who the devil says he is not a. ghost?" snarls 
Pipriac. " Fisherman, you are an ass — stand back ! If we 
had but a ladder, we would do ; malediction ! if we had 
only a ladder." And he shrieked aloud again at the top of 
his voice, " Deserter ! Number one ! Rohan Gwenfern ! " 

But there was no answer whatever, no stir, no sound. 
The villagers looked at one another and smiled, while Mar- 
celle crossed herself and prayed. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 



A SIEGE IN MINIATURE. 




T is necessary to be precise as to the date of 
these occurrences. When the fishermen be- 
held that memorable midnight vision in the 
Cathedral, and mistook for St. Gildas and the 
Fiend the living shapes of Rohan and 
Jannedik the goat, it was just after the June festival. Many 
weeks had elapsed while Mikel Grallon was secretly upon 
the scent of the fugitive ; but nearly three entire months had 
passed away before he actually discovered the whole truth 
that Rohan lived and was hiding in the great Cathedral. So 
that it was now the end of September, 1813. 

A memorable time, out in the great storm-beaten world, 
as well as here in lonely Kromlaix ; other tides were turning 
besides that which comes and goes with weary iteration on 
the sea-shore ; stranger storms were gathering than any 
little Kromlaix knew : nay, had gathered, and were bursting 
now around the figure of the one Colossus who bestrode the 
world. On the Rhine had Napoleon paused, facing the 
multitudinous waves of avenging hosts ; had lifted up his 
finger, like King Canute of old, crying, " Thus far and no 
farther ! " — yet to his wonder the waves still roared, and the 
tide still rose, and the living waters were now washing 
blood-red about his feet. Would he be submerged ? Would 
his evil genius fail him at last ? These were the supreme 



272 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

questions of Autumn, 1813. All the World was against 
him ; nay, the World and the Sea and the Sky ; yet he had 
tamed all these before, and might again ; and his word was 
still a power to conjure with, his presence still an inspiration, 
his shadow still a portent and a doom. He might emerge ; 
and then ? Why, there was little left for the stabbed and 
bleeding Earth but to die ; for, alas ! she could bear no more. 

Our business is not yet with the movement of great armies, 
with the motion of those elemental forces against which the 
Avatar was then struggling ; our picture is to contain the 
microcosm, not the macrocosm ; yet the one is potential in 
the other, as one monera of Haeckel represents the aggre- 
gate of a million moneras visibly covering the sea-bottom, 
but germinated from one invisible speck. No human pen, 
piling horror upon horror, can represent the aggregate of 
war ; it can only catalogue individual agonies, each of which 
brings the truth nearer home than any number of generalities. 
And we, who are about to chronicle to the best of our power 
a siege in miniature, begin by affirming that it represents the 
spirit of all sieges, however colossal in scale, however aggran- 
dised by endless combinations of the infinitesimal. 

Here in Kromlaix the matter is simple enough — it is one 
man against many ; up till now it has been bloodless, and so 
far as the one man himself is concerned it may remain so till 
the end. 

And now, O Muse, for a pen of fire to chronicle the doings 
of Pipriac the indomitable, as at last, with fiery Bardolphian 
nose lifted in the air, he collects his martial forces together ! 
Small pity now is left in his heart for the creature whom he 
pursues ; all his fierce passions are aroused, and his only 
aspiration is for cruel victory ; his voice is choked, his eyes 
are dim with rage and bloodthirst. He, Pipriac, commissary 
and. representative of the Emperor, to be defied and held at 
bay by a single peasant, crouching unarmed like a fox in a 
hole ! — by a miserable deserter, who has openly refused to 
fight for his country, who is a chouan and a coward, with a 



A SIEGE IN MINIATURE. 273 

price upon his head ! It is utterly incredible, and not to be 
endured. Up, some of you, and drag him down ! Andre", 
Pierre, Hoel, climb ! Tous les diables, is there not a man 
among you — not a creature with the heart of a fly ? Ha, if 
Pipriac were not old, if his legs were not shaky, would he not 
read you a lesson, rogues that you are ! 

Stimulated by the curses of his superior, Pierre takes off 
his shoes, puts his bayonet between his teeth, and begins to 
climb ; the rocks are perpendicular and slippery, but there 
are crevices for the hands and feet. Pierre makes way, 
watched eagerly by all the others ; suddenly, however, his 
foot slips and down he comes with a groan. Fortunately, he 
had not gone far, and beyond a few bruises he is little hurt. 

Now it is Andrews turn ; Andre", a dark, beetle-browed, 
determined-looking dog, with powerful legs and sinewy hands. 
He makes even better way than Pierre ; foot by foot, bayonet 
between teeth, he goes up : there is not a word, there is 
scarcely a breath ; he is half-way, clinging to the treacherous 
rocks with fingers and toes like a cat's claws, and wearing a 
cat-like determination in his face, when suddenly one utters 
a cry, and points up. Andre" looks up too, and there, 
stretched out above him, are two hands, and in those two 
hands, poised an enormous fragment of rock. A white 
murderous face glares over at him — the face of Rohan 
Gwenfern. 

It would be easy now to pick off the deserter, but if this 
were done, what of Andre* ? — down would descend the stone, 
and woe to him who clung below. Andre does the best he 
can under the circumstances : he descends hand over hand, 
more rapidly than he ascended. By the time that he drops 
again upon the shingle the face and arms above are gone. 

" Malediction!" cries Pipriac ;" then he means to fight !" 

Yes, Pipriac, make sure of that ; for is it not written that 
the very worm will turn, and that even innocent things be- 
come terrible when they struggle for sweet life ? Nor shall 
this man be blamed if he becomes what you make him, — a 
murderous and murdering animal, with all the gentle love 



274 fHE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

and pity burnt up within his veins, — and with one thought 
uppermost only, that of overthrowing and destroying those 
who would overthrow and destroy him, — which thought may 
in due time be kindled to fiercer bloodthirst and more hideous 
hunger for vengeance. In every strong man's heart there is 
a devil ; beware how you rouse it here J 

Another volley into the mouth of the Cave, given furiously 
at a signal from the Sergeant, is only waste of ammunition. 
The bullets patter on the top of the Trou, and fall down 
flattened on the spot where Rohan lately stood. The cliffs 
roar, the villagers utter a terrified murmur ; then there is 
silence. 

Other attempts to climb follow, all without success. Once 
the poised rock descends, and Andre, who was climbing 
again, only just drops to the earth and draws aside in time. 
Curses and threats rise to the Cave ; Pipriac utters horrible 
imprecations. Shots are fired again and again ; but all miss 
their mark, for Rohan now is upon his guard. The siege 
has begun in earnest. 

Sunset comes, and nothing has been done ; the situation 
seems actually unassailable. The rain has been falling more 
or less all day, and every man is wet through and out of 
temper. The crowd of villagers, with Marcelle among them, 
still looks on, in stupefied content that the ge?idarmes are 
baffled at every turn. 

Now the tide creeps up to the Gate once more, and all 
precipitately retreat, the military with an au revoir of threats 
and objurgations. The great Cathedral is empty, all is silent. 
But who is this that, lingering behind the rest, creeps up 
close under the "Altar," turns her white face upward, and 
moans out the deserter's name. 

" Rohan ! Rohan ! " 

There is no reply ; she stands uplifting her arms, tears 
streaming down her cheeks. 

" Rohan ! speak to me ! Ah, God, can you not hear ? " 

Still there is silence, and, turning sadly, she walks down 
the dark Cathedral and follows the rest out of the Gate. She 



A SIEGE IN MINIATURE. 275 

is in time, but at the promontory the water is knee-deep as 
she wades round. 

Yes, he had heard ; lying in there upon his bed of weeds, 
ne had heard the voice, and peering down, himself in dark- 
ness, he had seen the piteous face he loved, looking upward. 
He had no heart to answer ; her face shook his soul more pain- 
fully than even those fierce faces of his enemies ; but the ex- 
citement of the day had made him mad, suspicious, and dis- 
trustful even of her. He saw her pass away after the rest ; 
he gazed after her with a dull, dumb despair, like one in a 
dream ; then when she had gone, he threw himself down 
upon his bed and wept. 

Ah, those tears of a strong man ! — wrung like drops from 
stone, like moisture from iron ; shed not for sorrow, not in 
self-pity, but in pure surcease of heart. With the apparition 
of that face came upon him the consciousness of all that he 
had lost, of all the love and peace that he had nearly won : 
the certainty of what he was now, who had once been so 
strong and glad ; the knowledge of his almost certain doom, 
for was not the fatal mark already upon his forehead ? 
" Marcelle ! Marcelle ! " The name went up into the 
hollows of the Cave, and voices answered him like cries from 
his own heart, and all his force was broken. So night came, 
and found him wearied out. 

All that night he was left in peace, but he knew well that 
close watch was kept without the Cathedral ; in no case 
would he have stirred, for no other place was so safe, and his 
foot was still in pain. He rested in the total darkness, with- 
out a light of any kind ; he heard the pigeons come in to 
their roosts in the rocks, and he saw the bats slip in and out 
against the dim blue gleam at the Cave's mouth ; and harm- 
less living creatures crawled over him as he lay. About 
midnight, when the tide was ebbing, he waited expectant ; 
but no one returned. A cold moon rose, flooding the 
Cathedral with her beams, and shining far out with one 
silvery track upon the sea. 



276 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

It was then that he first bestirred himself and laboured in 
preparation for his enemies. Scattered on the floor of the 
Cave were many loose pieces of rock, both huge and small, 
which in course of time had detached themselves from the 
cliffs ; these he carefully carried to the mouth of the Cave, 
piling them one upon another in readiness to be cast over 
on any assailant who might climb from below ; lifting some, 
rolling others ; now and then involuntarily letting one slip 
from his aching hold, and crash down on the beach below. 
For hours he laboured, for it was no easy task ; some of the 
stones being heavy enough, falling from that height, to crush 
an ox. When he had done, his hands were bleeding, cut 
by the sharp edges of the stones. Finally, when the tide 
crept into the place once more, he threw himself on his bed 
and slept. 

When he awoke it was broad day — the mouth of the Cave 
was bright, and a confused murmur broke upon his ear. He 
started up and listened. A loud authoritative voice was call- 
ing him by name. Crawling forward to the mouth of the 
Cave, now partially blocked up by the rocks and stones, he 
peered cautiously over, and saw, standing on the shingle 
below him, a crowd of men, almost all of whom wore uniform 
and carried bayonets ; while in their midst calling out his 
name, was a tall grey-headed man in semi-military dress, 
whom he recognised as the Mayor of St. Gurlott. 

Again, the Mayor, holding a paper in his hand, called his 
name aloud. After a moment's hesitation, he answered, " I 
am here ! " There was a babble of voices, a flashing of 
weapons ; then the Mayor said again — 

"Silence! — Gwenfern, are you attending?" 

'•• Yes." 

" Do you know me ? " 

" Yes." 

The answers were given distinctly, but Rohan was careful 
to keep his person totally concealed. 

" You were drawn for the Conscription in the early sum- 



A SIEGE IN MINIATURE. 277 

mer, and your name was first upon the list. Wretched man, 
you are at last discovered, as every one will be who deserts 
his country in the hour of need ; there is no longer any chance 
of escape ; why do you still persist in a miserable resistance? 
In the name of the Emperor, I bid you yield yourself up." 

No answer. 

"Do you hear me? Are you still refractory? Have you 
sot one word to say for yourself ? None ? " 

After a moment's pause, the voice from the Cave replied — 

" Yes, one." 

"Speak, then!" 

" It I surrender as you desire, what then ?" 

The Mayor shrugged his shoulders. 

" You will be shot, of course, as a warning to others." 

" And if I refuse ? " 

" Why, then, you will die too, but like a dog. There is 
but one law for deserters — one law and short shrift. Now, 
do you understand ?" 

" I understand." 

" And to save trouble, will you surrender ? " 

" Not while I live." 

The Mayor, folding up his paper, handed it to Sergeant 
Pipriac with an air that said, " I have done my duty, and 
wash my hands of the whole affair." A long colloquy ensued, 
at the end of which the Mayor said, frowning — 

" The rest is in your hands, and should be easy ; he is 
only one man, while you are many. I leave it to you, 
Sergeant Pipriac — he must be taken, dead or alive." 

" That is more easily said than done," said Pipriac ; " it is 
more than a man's life is worth to climb up there ; and 
besides, without ladders only one man could ascend at a 
time." 

The Mayor mused ; he was a grim, pale-looking man, 
with cruel grey eyes and pitiless mouth. 

" The example is a dangerous one, Sergeant Pipriac ; at 
all risks he must be reached. Are there no ladders in the 
village ? " 

T 



{ 



27S THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

"Ah, m'sieu," returned Pipriac, "just cast your eye up al 
the Tron; it would be a long ladder indeed to reach so far, 
and even then '' 

At this moment Mikel Grallon, hat in hand, approached 
the Mayor as if to speak. 

" M'sieu le Afaire." 

" What man is this ? " asked the Mayor, scowling. 

"This is the man who first gave information," said Pipriac. 

" Stand back, fisherman ! What do you want ? " 

Mikel Grallon, instead of falling back, came closer, and 
said in a low voice — 

" Pardon, M'sieu le Maire, but there is one way if all the 
rest fail " 

"Well?" 

" The deserter is without means of subsistence. If the> 
worst come to the worst, he must starve to death." 




CHAPTER XXXIII. 

HUNGER AND COLD. 

IKEL GRALLON, with characteristic and cruel 
foresight, had hit upon the truth : that how- 
ever successful Rohan Gwenfern might be in 
keeping his assailants at bay from his seem- 
ingly impregnable position, he must inevitably, 
unless provisioned for a period which was altogether unlikely? 
either yield himself up, or famish and die. To secure this 
latter end it was necessary carefully to cut off all avenues of 
supply, which, indeed, Pipriac had already done, every 
portion of the cliffs, both above and below, being well 
watched and guarded ; and now the only question was 
whether to try at once to take the position by storm, or to 
wait patiently until such time as the deserter either capitu- 
lated or perished of starvation. Pipriac, being a man o/ 
action, was for an immediate attack ; with which view h» 
sent messengers to scour the village for ladders of some 
sort ; but when these messengers returned empty-handed, 
after searching high and low, he saw the hopelessness of 
rapid attack, and determined to conduct the siege passively 
until such time as capitulation came. It should never be 
said that old Pipriac was baffled and defied by a peasant, 
smiling as it were within a stone's-throw of his hand. Tons 
les diables, duty was duty, and it should be done though it 
took him a score of years ! 



28o THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

In the meantime, however, he sent to St. Gurlott for 
ladders, which might be useful sooner or later, if not for 
reaching the deserter alive, at least for recovering his dead 
body. Then, pending their arrival, he sat down, like a 
mighty general with his army surrounding a beleaguered 
town, before the Trou a Gildas. 

Figuratively, not literally ; for the constant ebbing and 
flowing of the tide left the Cathedral quite out of the ques- 
tion for headquarters ; and, moreover, it was necessary for 
Pipriac to pass to and fro, inspiring and directing his men, 
both those stationed on the high cliffs and those below. 

A day and a night passed ; and the prisoner made no 
sign. 

It would be tedious to describe the various harmless 
sallies of the besiegers. At every morte mer they, watched 
the Cave and reconnoitred, but saw nothing of the besieged ; 
sometimes they called aloud upon him, at others they crept 
in and crept out in silence. All the night double watch was 
kept, not one avenue of escape being overlooked ; and, to 
make assurance doubly sure, Pipriac refused to let any 
villager, man or woman, approach the scene of the siege. 
Twice Marcelle Derval was driven back, almost at bayonet- 
point, for the men were growing savage through sheer 
impatience. What her errand was none knew ; but one 
suspected : that it was to carry the deserter bread. 

On the morning of the second day the sea rose high, and 
the wind blew boisterously from the south-east ; by noon 
the wind had risen to a storm ; before night it was blowing 
a gale, with heavy blinding rain. For two days and nights 
more the storm continued, growing fiercer and fiercer, on 
the land and on the sea ; the great cliffs shook, the 
cormorants sat half-starving in their ledges looking at the 
raging sea. The gendarmes kept their posts, relieving each 
other at regular intervals. The sentinels bore lanterns, 
which were flashed full all night upon the cliffs in the 
neighbourhood of the Cave. 

In the tumult of these tempestuous nights Rohan might 



HUNGER AND COLD. 281 

possibly have escaped, but he did not try : out in the 
open country he would have soon been taken, and he knew 
no " coign of vantage " equal to the position he occupied. 
Twice, at considerable peril, he made his way in the dark- 
ness up the cliff to the spot where he had been discovered 
by Mikel Grallon and the rest ; and on the second occasion 
a hand from above, as before, let him down food — black 
bread and coarse cheese. So he did not starve — yet. 

And now the storm abated, and calm days came, and 
nights with a bright moon. The besiegers made no attempt to 
reach him ; they had clearly determined on starving him out. 

On the fifth night from the commencement of the siege 
the besiegers made a discovery. The sentinels on the crags 
above, as they stood 'twixt sleeping and waking at their 
posts, saw a dark figure creeping, almost crawling, on the 
edges of the crags ; sometimes it paused and lay quite still, 
at others it almost ran ; and at first they crossed themselves 
superstitiously, for they deemed it something unearthly. 
There was a moon, but from time to time her light was 
buried in dense clouds. Now, whenever the moonlight shone 
out, the figure lay still ; whenever all became dark it again 
moved forward. 

One gendarme, separating himself from his fellows, 
followed on his hands and knees — moved when the figure 
moved — paused when the figure paused — and at last, with a 
powerful effort of the will — for he had his superstitions — 
sprang forward, seized the figure and found it flesh and 
blood. 

Then the others, running up with lanterns, flashed them in 
the pale face of a woman, who uttered a loud wail : Mother 
Gwenfern. 

Her errand was instantly discovered ; she carried food, 
which she was obviously about to convey to her son by means 
of a hempen cord, which they also found upon her person. 
It was a pitiful business, and some there would fain have 
washed their hands of it ; but the more brutal ones, faithful 
to their duty, drove the old woman back to her cottage at 



282 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the bayonet-point. From that time forth a still closer watch 
was kept, so that no soul could possibly have left the village 
and approached the great cliff-wall unseen. 

"He will die!" 

" Mother, he shall not die !" 

" There is no hope — there is no way ; ah, my curse on 
Pipriac, and on them all ! " 

" Pray to the good God ! He will direct us ! " 

"Why should I pray ? God is against us, God and the 
Emperor ; my boy will die, my boy will die ! " 

It was evening ; and the two women — Mother Gwenfern 
and Marcelle— sat alone in the widow's cottage, clinging 
together and crying in despair ; for the widow's last attempt 
to send succour to her son had failed, and now her very door 
was watched by cruel eyes. Ah, it was terrible ! to think 
that the son of her womb was out yonder starving in the 
night, that he had not tasted bread for many hours, that she 
was powerless to stir to help him any more ! What she had 
previously been able to convey to him had been barely 
sufficient to support life, yet it had sufficed ; but now / — a 
whole day and night had passed since she had vainly tried 
to reach him and had been discovered in the attempt. 
Merciful God ! to think of the darkness, and the cold, and 
the dreary solitude of the Cave ; and then, to crown all, the 
hunger ! 

The agony of those months of horror had left their mark 
on the weary woman ; gaunter and more grim than ever, a 
skeleton only sustained by the intensity of the maternal fire 
that burnt within her, she waited and watched : that ominous 
blue colour of the lips often proclaiming the secret disease 
that prayed within. Her comfort in those desolate hours had 
been Marcelle, who, with a daughter's love and more than a 
daughter's duty, had watched over her and helped her in her 
holy struggle. 

Come back to the Cathedral of St. Gildas. It is night, 



HUNGER AND COLD. 2S3 

the tide is full, and the moon is shining on the watery floor. 
Far above on the cliffs the sentinels are watching ; on the 
shores around they are scattered, standing or lying ; Pipriac 
is not with them, but he, too, wherever he is, is on the qui 
vive. All is still and calm : stillest of all that white face 
gazing seaward out of the Cave. 

The pinch has come at last, the cruel pinch and pang 
which no strength of will can subdue, which nothing but 
bread can appease. Last night Rohan Gwenfern ate his last 
crust ; then, climbing up to the old spot, watched for the old 
signal, as he had watched the night before, in vain. When 
food had come he had husbanded it with care — only partak- 
ing of just enough to support simple life, dividing the rest 
into portions for the future hours ; but he had come to the 
end at last. Down on the shores there might be shell-fish 
capable of nourishing life, but thither he dared not fare : he 
must remain, like a rat, within his hole ; and help from the 
sea-birds there was none, for the puffins had all fled many 
weeks before, and the gulls were strong-winged and beyond 
his reach. Water he lacked not ; the cold rocks distilled 
that liberally enough ; but food he had none — nay, not even 
the dulse of the sea to gnaw. He was caged, trapped ; and 
now he starved. 

What wonder, then, if his face looked wild and despairing 
as he gazed out on the lonely sea ? Far out in the moon- 
light, creeping like black water-snakes along the water, he 
saw the fishing boats going seaward ; ah, how merrily had he 
sailed with them in ihose peaceful days that were gone ! He 
had lost all that ; he had lost the world. . . . Yet he could bear 
all, he would not care, if he had only a crust of bread to eat ! 

Sometimes his head swooned round, for already hunger 
had begun to attack the citadels of life ; sometimes he fell 
away into a doze and awoke shivering ; yet, waking or asleep, 
he sat watching at the Cave's mouth in desolation and 
despair 

" Rohan! Rohan!" 



284 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

He starts from his half-sleep, looking wildly round him. 
Almighty God ! is it a dream ? Something black stirs there 
in the moonlight ; something black, and amidst it something 
white. It is too dim for him to see well — to distinguish 
shapes — but he can hear the well-known voice, though it 
comes only in a whisper. Can it be real ? 

" Rohan ! Rohan ! " 

Yes, it is real ! Peering down he sees, floating under the 
Altar, a small boat containing two figures. Yes, surely a 
boat, by the movement of the muffled oars. It moves softly 
up and down in the great swell that rises and falls in the 
Cathedral. 

" Rohan, are you there ? Listen, it is I — Marcelle ! Ah, 
now I see you — whisper low, for they are on the watch." 

" Who is with you ? " 

"Jan Goron ; we crept along close to shore through the 
Porte d'Ingnal, and no one saw ; but there is no time to lose. 
We have brought you food ! " 

The man's eyes glitter as he bends over the descent, 
looking down at the boat. As he hangs in this attitude, a 
sound strikes upon his ears, and he listens wildly ; again ! 
yes, it is the sound of oars beyond the Gate. 

" Quick ! begone ! " he cries ; " they are coming ! . . . 
See ! throw the food down on the shingle and fly ! " 

The tide is still nearly full, but just under the Trou there 
is a narrow space of shingle from which the water has just 
ebbed, and on which the boat's prow strikes at intervals. On 
this shingle Marcelle, leaning quickly forward, deposits what 
she bears ; then, with an impulsive movement, she stretches 
her arms eagerly up to him who hangs above her, as if to 
embrace him, while Jan Goron, with a few swift strokes of 
the oars, forces the light boat across the Cathedral floor, 
through the Gate, and out to the sea beyond. Scarcely has 
he passed the shadow of the Gate, however, when a gruff 
voice demands, " Who goes there ? " and a black pinnace, 
rowed by sailors of the coast-guard, bears down from the 
darkness. In an instant a heavy hand is laid on the gunwale 



HUNGER AND COLD. 285 

of Goron's boat ; bayonets and cutlasses glisten in the dim 
moonlight, and a familiar voice cries — 

" Tous les diables ! It is a woman ! " 

The speaker is Pipriac, and he stands in the stern of the 
pinnace, glaring over at Marcelle. 

" The lantern ! let us see her face ! " 

Some one lifts a lighted lantern from the bottom of the 
boat and flashes its rays right into the face of Marcelle. She 
is soon recognised ; and then the same proceeding is gone 
through with Goron, whose identity is hailed with a volley 
of expletives. 

" Is this treason ?" cries Pipriac. " Malediction ! answer, 
one or both. What the foul fiend are you doing out here by 
the Gate at such an hour ? Do you know what will be the 
consequence if you are discovered aiding and abetting the 
deserter ? Well, it will be death ! — death, look you — even 
for you, Marcelle Derval, though you are only a girl and a 
child ! " 

Marcelle answers with determination, though her heart is 
sick with apprehension lest her errand is discovered — 

" Surely one may row upon the water without offence, 
Sergeant Pipriac." 

" Ah, bah ! tell that to the fishes ; old Pipriac is not so 
stupid. Here, one of you, search the boat." 

A man leaps, lantern in hand, from the larger boat into 
the smaller, searches it, and finds nothing : at which Pipriac 
shakes his head and growls. It is characteristic of Pipriac 
that when he is least really angry he vociferates and objur- 
gates the most ; when most subdued he is most dangerous. 
On the present occasion his language is quite unquotable. 
When he has finished, one of the men inquires quietly if 
Marcelle and Goron are to be arrested or suffered to go 
about their business. 

" Curses upon them, let them go ! but we must keep our 
eyes open henceforth. Jan Goron, I suspect you — be 
warned, and take no more moonlight excursions. Marcelle, 
you too are warned ; you come of a good stock, and I should 



286 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

be sorry to see you get into trouble. Now, away with you ! 
— Home, like lightning ! And, hark you, when next you 
come out here by night you will find it go hard with you in- 
deed. Begone !" 

So Marcelle and Goron go free — partly, perhaps, through 
the secret good-nature of the Sergeant. Goron pulls rapidly 
for the village, and soon his boat touches the shore im- 
mediately beneath the cottage of Mother Gwenfern. 

Meantime Pipriac has peered through the Gate into the 
Cathedral ; seeing all quiet and in darkness, he gives the 
order to depart, and so his boat, too, disappears from the 
scene. No sooner has the sound of his oars quite died 
away in the distance than a dark figure begins to descend 
from the Cave ; hanging by feet and hands to creep down 
from crevice to crevice of the dangerous wall, until it reaches 
the space of shingle beneath : there it finds the burthen 
which Marcelle brought, which it secures carefully before 
again climbing ; then, even more rapidly than it came down, 
it proceeds to re-ascend, and, ere long, in perfect safety, it 
returns to the mouth of the Cave. So Rohan Gwenfern is 
saved from famine for the time bear*- 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



A FOUR-FOOTED CHRISTIAN. 




'HE siege has lasted nearly a fortnight, and still 
the deserter seems as far off from surrendering 
as ever. It is inscrutable, inconceivable ; for 
every avenue of aid is now blocked, and there 
is no known means by which a human being could bring 
him help, either by land or sea. Save for the fart that 
from time to time glimpses are caught of his person, and in- 
dications given of his existence, one would imagine the 
deserter to be dead. Yet he is not dead ; and he does not 
offer to surrender ; and, indeed, he is tiresomely on the alert. 
Naturally, the patience of his pursuers is exhausted ; but 
the)' do not neglect their usual precautions. Pipriac, in his 
secret mind (where he is superstitious), begins to think he is 
dealing with a ghost after all ; for surely no human being, 
single-handed, could so consummately and so calmly set .at 
defiance all the forces of the law, of Pipriac, and of the great 
Emperor. Of one thing Pipriac is certain, that no human 
hand brings the deserter food ; and yet he lives ; and to live 
he must eat ! and how all the devils does he provide the 
wherewithal ? Unless he is mysteriously fed by an angel, or 
(which is far more probable in Pipriac's opinion) by a spirit 
of a darker order, he must himself be something more than 
human : in which case affairs look grim, and yet ridiculous 
indeed. Food does not — at least in these degenerate days — 



288 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

drop from heaven ; nor does it, in a form suitable for human 
sustenance, grow in rocks and caves of the sea. How then 
by all that is diabolic does the deserter procure that food 
which is so terrible and commonplace a human necessity ? 
It puzzles thinking. 

What the open-minded and irascible soldier, too fair and 
too fiery for subtle suspicions, fails altogether to discover, is 
finally, after many nights and days, rooted out and brought 
to light by the mole-like burrower in mean soil, Mikel 
Grallon. Honest Mikel has been all this time, more or less, 
a hanger-on to the skirts of the besieging party : coming and 
going at irregular intervals, but never quite abandoning his 
functions as scout and spy in general. Him Pipriac ever 
regards with a malignant and baleful eye, but to Pipriac's 
dislike he is skin-proof. His business now is to ascertain 
by what secret means the deserter sets his enemies at de- 
fiance and cannot even be starved out of, or in, his citadel. 
Here Grallon, unlike the Sergeant, has no superstitions ; he 
is convinced, with all his crafty mind, that there are sound 
physical reasons for all that is taking place : Rohan Gwen- 
fern is receiving ordinary sustenance — but how ? 

It comes upon Grallon in one illuminating flash, as he 
stands, not far from Pipriac, at the foot of the Stairs of St, 
Triffine, looking upward. Westward, on the cliff's face, not 
far from the Cathedral, something is moving, walking with 
sure footsteps on paths inaccessible to man : it pauses ever 
and anon, gazing round with quiet unconcern ; then it 
leisurely moves on ; nor does it halt until it has descended 
the green side in the very neighbourhood of Rohan's Trou. 
Great inspirations come suddenly ; to Grallon it seems "as 
if a star has burst within his brain." He runs up to Pipriac, 
who is sullenly sitting on a rock with a group of his men 
around him. 

" Look, Sergeant, look ! " 

And he points at the object in the distance. Pipriac rolls 
his one eye round in no amiable fashion, and demands by 
all the devils what Mikel Grallon m^ans. 



A FOUR-FOOTED CHRISTIAN. 289 

" Look ! " repeats Mikel. " The goat 1 " 

" And what of the goat, fisherman ? '' 

" Only this : it is going to the Trou, and it goes there by 
day and night to feed its master : now at the cottage, then 
at the cave. What fools we have been !" 

Here Grallon chuckles silently, much to the anger of the 
Sergeant. 

" Cease grimacing, and explain ! " cries Pipriac. 
"Well?" 

" I have my suspicions — nay, am I not certain ? — that 
Madame Longbeard yonder is in the plot. Is she not ever 
wandering to and fro upon the cliffs, and will she not come 
to the deserter's call, and would it not be easy to conceal food 
about her body ? — no matter how little ; a crust will keep life 
alive. Look ! she descends — she is out of sight ; she is 
going straight down to the Cave ! '' 

Pipriac keeps his live-coal of an eye fixed on Grallon's, 
looking through rather than upon him, in a grim abstraction ; 
then he rises, growling, to his feet, and calls a consultation, 
the result of which is that the goat shall be strictly 
watched. 

The morning after Jannedik is intercepted as she emerges 
on the cliff, surrounded, and "searched," but, nothing being 
discovered, she is suffered to go. The morning afterwards, 
however, Pipriac is more fortunate ; for he finds, carefully 
buried among the long hair of the goat's throat, and sus- 
pended by a strong cord round the neck — a small basket of 
woven reeds containing black bread and strong cheese. It 
is now clear enough that Jannedik has been the bearer of 
supplies from time to time. 

" It would be only just," says one of the gendarmes, " to 
shoot her for treason against the Emperor." 

Pipriac scowled. 

" No, let her go," he cried, "the beast knows no better ; ' 
and as Jannedik leapt away without the load, and began 
descending the cliffs in the direction the Cathedral, he 



290 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

muttered, " She will not be so welcome to-day as usual, 
without her little present." 

So the gendarmes eat the bread and cheese, and laugh as 
they reflect that Rohan is circumvented at last ; while 
Pipriac paces up and down, in no lamb-like mood, for he is 
secretly ashamed of the whole business. Still, duty is duty, 
and the Sergeant, with dogged pertinacity, means to perform 
his. 

Henceforth all efforts to use Jannedik as the bearer of 
supplies are unavailing ; — a gendarme is posted at the widow's 
door night and day, with strict orders to watch the whole 
family, especially the goat. He notices that Jannedik 
seldom goes and comes at all, and never stays long out of 
doors ; for lying on the hearth within she has a little kid, 
who requires constant maternal attention. When one night, 
the kid dies and Jannedik is left lamenting, the gendarme 
regards the affair as of no importance ; — but he is wrong. 

More days pass, and still the deserter is not dead but 
liveth. Wild winds blow with rain and hail, the sea roars 
night and day, the besiegers have a hard time of it and are 
growing furious. How the fierce rains lash the cliff ! how 
the spindrift flies in from the foaming waters ! — and yet 
screened from all this sits the deserter, while the servants of 
the Emperor are dripping like drowned rats. Hours of storm, 
when Pipriac's loudest malediction is faint as the scratch of 
a pin, unheeded and scarce heard ! Is this to last for ever ? 

To Pipriac and the rest, pacing there in mist and cloud, 
peeping, muffled to the throat, there come from time to time 
tidings from the far-off seat of war. The great Emperor has 
met with slight reverses, and some of his old friends are fall- 
ing away from him ; indeed, if Pipriac could only discern it, 
the cloud no bigger than a prophet's hand is already looming 
on the German Rhine. The gendarmes laugh and quote the 
bulletins as they tramp up and down. They are amused at 
the folly of those who have fallen off from the Emperor, and 
look forward for the news of French victory which is to come 
soon ! 



A FOUR-FOOTED CHRISTIAN. 291 

Once more, as they stand below the cliffs, Mikel Grallon 
points upward, calling the attention of Pipriac. 
" Well ? " snaps the Sergeant. 

" That accursed goat ; it goes to the Trou oftener than 
ever.'' 

" What then ? It goes empty, fisherman — we take care of 
that. Pshaw, you are an ass ! " 

Mikel trembles and quivers spitefully as he replies — 
" I will tell you one thing that you have overlooked, clever 
as you think yourself ; if you had thought of it you would 
never have let the goat go." 
"Well?" 

" The goat is in full suck, though her kid is dead ; and a 
mouth draws her milk each day ! " 

Pipriac utters an exclamation ; here is a new light with a 
vengeance ! 

" Is this true ? " he growls, glaring round. " Malediction ! 
but this Mikel Grallon is the devil ! After all, a man cannot 
live on the milk of a goat." 

" It may suffice for a time," says Mikel Grallon ; " there is 
life in it. Curses on the beast ! If I were one of you, I 
would soon settle its business.' 1 ' 

As he speaks the goat is passing overhead, at a distance of 
several hundred yards, leisurely pausing ever and anon, and 
cropping the thin herbage as she goes. A diabolical twinkle 
comes into the Sergeant's eye. 

" Can you shoot, fisherman ? " he asks. 
" I can hit a mark," is the reply. 

" I will wager a bottle of good brandy you could not hit a 
barn-door at a hundred yards ! Nevertheless — Hoel, give 
him your gun." 

The gendarme hands his weapon to Mikel Grallon, who 
takes it silently, with a look of interrogation at Pipriac. 
" Now, fire ! " 
"At what?" 

"Malediction ! at the goat ; let us see what you are made 
of. Fire, — and miss ! " 



292 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The thin lips of Mikel Grallon are pressed tight together. 
and his brow comes down over his eyes. His hand does not 
tremble as, kneeling down on one knee, he steadies the 
piece and takes aim. Up above him Jannedik, with her side 
presented full to him, pauses unconscious. 

He is so long in taking aim that Pipriac swears. 

" Malediction \—fire / " 

There is a flash, a report, and the bullet flies on to its 
mark above. For a moment it appears to have missed, for 
the goat, though it seemed to start at the sound, still standi 
in the same position, scarcely stirring ; acd Hoel is snatch- 
ing his gun back with a contemptious laugh, when Pipriac, 
pointing upwards, cries — 

" Tons les diables / — she is hit ; she is coming down ! '' 

But the niche where the goat stands is broad and safe, and 
she has only fallen forward on her knees ; it is 
obvious she is hurt, for she quakes and seems about to roll 
over ; restraining herself, however, she staggers to her legs, 
and then, as if partially recovered, she runs rapidly along the 
cliffs in the direction of the Cave. 




CHAPTER XXXV. 

VIGIL. 

OR a second time Mikel Grallosi, with the cun- 
ning of his class, had guessed correctly ; and 
for two long days and nights Rohan Gwen- 
fern had received no other sustenance than the 
milk of the goat. At first, after the death of 
her kid, Jannedik had been running about the cliffs dis- 
tracted, burthened with the weight of the milk the little lips 
could no longer draw ; and the famished man in the Cave, 
finding in her discomfort his bodily salvation, had in direst 
extremity put his mouth to her teeming udder and drunk. 
From that moment forth Jannedik returned many times a 
day to be relieved of her painful burthen ; and the more 
relief came the freer the milk flowed — a vital and an in- 
vigorating stream. 

But by this time the struggle was well-nigh over, and 
Rohan Gwenfern knew well that the end was near. The 
hand of Death seemed upon him, the wholesome flesh had 
worn from off his bones, and his whole frame was shrunken 
and famine-stricken. No eye undimmed with tears could 
have seen him there, crouching like a starved wolf upon his 
dark bed, with wild eyes glaring out through hair unkempt, 
his cheeks sunken, his jaw dropping in exhaustion and de- 
spair. From time to time he wailed out to God inarticulate 
sounds of misery ; and often his head grew light, and he saw 



«94 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

strange visions flitting about him in the gloom. But always, 
when there came any sound from below, he was ready, with 
all his fierce instinct upon him, to watch and to resist. 

He was sitting thus towards evening, while the tide was 
full and the waves were roaring in storm underneath the Cave, 
when the entrance was darkened, and Jannedik crept in, and 
passing across the damp and slimy floor, lay down at his bed. 
For a time he scarcely noticed her, for he was light-headed, 
muttering and murmuring to himself ; but presently his at- 
tention was attracted by the rough tongue licking his hand. 
Turning his hollow eyes upon her, he murmured her name 
and touched her softly, at which she stirred, looking up into 
his face and uttering a low cry of pain ; and then, quivering 
from head to foot in agony, she rolled over at his feet. He 
then saw, with horror, that she ' ?as suffering from a terrible 
wound in the side, some distar ^e behind the shoulder ; and 
from that wound her life's blood was ebbing fast. 

Pitiful — even more pitiful than the pain of human beings 
whose lips can speak — are the fatal pangs of poor beasts 
that the good God made dumb. By an instinct diviner than 
our reason they know and fear the approach of death, and 
sometimes they seem to love life well — so well, they dare not 
die. Shall we weep by mortal deathbeds and keep dry eyes 
by these ? or shall we not rather deem that the Shadow that 
darkens our hearts is terrible to theirs, and that the blessing 
we ask upon our last sleep should be spoken on theirs as 
well : with the same hope of awakening, with the same 
poor gleam of comfort, with the same faith born of despair 
in the presence of that great darkness we cannot under- 
stand ? 

To Rohan, this poor goat had been more than succour and 
solace : she had been a friend and a companion, almost 
human in the comfort she brought. So long as she came to 
him, with or without tidings from the world, he did not seem 
quite deserted, he did not feel quite heart-broken. Several 
times he had flung his arms around her neck, and almost 
wept, as he thought of the loving ones from whom she came : 



VIGIL. 295 

and her familiar presence, seen from day to day, had made 
the dark cave almost like home. 

And now she lay at his feet panting, dying, her large eyes 
upturned beseechingly to his. He uttered a wild groan, and 
knelt beside her. 

" Jannedik ! Jannedik ! " 

The poor beast knew her name and licked the hand of her 
master ; then, with one last quiver of the bleeding frame, 
she dropped her gentle head, and died. 

Darkness came, and found Rohan Gwenfern still kneeling 
by the side of his dead friend, his face white as death and lit 
with frenzy, his frame trembling from head to foot. All his 
own physical troubles were forgotten for the time, in this new 
surprise and pain ; he gazed on the dead goat as on a 
murdered man, innocent yet martyred ; and again and again 
he called his heart's curse on the hand that struck her low. 
A sick horror possessed him : he could not rise nor stir, but 
the wild thoughts coursed across his brain like clouds across 
the sky. 

The moon rose in the high heavens, but the wind had not 
abated, and the sea was still thundering on the shore. It 
was one of those wild autumn nights when there is a great 
shining in the upper air, with a strange trouble and conflict 
of the forces below ; when the moon and stars fulfil their 
ministrations to an earth that trembles in darkness and a sea 
that moans in pain ; a night of elemental contradictions : 
vast calm in the heavens, but mighty tumult under the 
heavens ; the clouds drifting luminously yet softly overhead, 
but the North-West Wind going forth tumultuously below, 
with his foot on the neck of the Deep. 

The cold moonlight from the sky crept into the Cave and 
touched the dead goat, and trembled on Rohan's face and 
hands as if in benediction ; but no benediction came ; and 
the man's heart was fierce as a beast's within him, and the 
man's brain was mad. As a wild beast broods in its cave, 
gazing out through the lunar sheen with glazed and mindless 



296 THE SHADOW OP THE SWORD. 

eyes, Rohan crouched in his place in a sort of savage trance. 
One hour — two — passed thus. He seemed scarcely to see 
or hear. 

Meanwhile the foaming, surging tide had drifted out 
through the Gate, and the tomblike rocks and stones were 
again visible on the weedy, shingly shore. The sea roared 
farther off, beyond the Gate, but its roar was still deafening. 
The wind, moreover, was yet rising, and there was a halo 
like Saturn's ring round the vitreous Moon. 

All at once Rohan leapt to his feet and listened ; for, 
above the roar of the sea and the shriek of the wind, ha 
heard a startling sound. In a moment he sprang to the 
mouth of the Cave — and not too soon ; for the Cathedral 
was full of men, and wild faces were moving up from beneath 
towards his hiding-place. Ladders had at last been pro- 
cured and. lashed together, placed against the dripping 
Altar. Up these ladders men were clambering. But when 
Rohan appeared like a ghost above them in the moonlight, 
they shrank back with a loud cry. 

Only for an instant ; then they began to swarm up again. 




CHAPTER XXXVI. 

VICTORY. 

jT was the work of a moment for Rohan, exerting 
all his extraordinary strength, to hurl back the 
two ladders, the highest rungs of which rested 
against the foot of the Trou. Fortunately those 
upon them had not climbed far, and fell back- 
wards shrieking, but little harmed ; while, urged to frenzy by 
the appearance of the besieging crowd, Rohan straightway 
commenced to hurl down upon the mass the ponderous frag- 
ments of rock which he had placed, ready for use, at the 
Cave's mouth. Shrieks, cries, oaths arose : and the men 
withdrew tumultously out of reach. Then a voice shrieked 
" Fire ! " and a shower of bullets rained round the deserters 
form ; but all missed their mark. 

It was now quite clear that Pipriac, weary of so long wait- 
ing, had made up his martial mind to carry the position by 
•itorm. Under cover of the firing a number of gendarmes 
advanced again, and the ladders were once more placed 
against the dripping wall of the " Altar " ; but in another 
moment the besiegers were again baffled and driven back by 
terrible showers of rocks and stones. More like a wild 
beast than a human creature, Rohan flitted above in the 
dark mouth of the Cave : silently, with mad outreaching 
arms, gathering and discharging his rude ammunition ; gaz- 
ng hungrily and fieicely down on the cruel faces congregated 



298 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

below him ; taking no more heed of the bullets pouring 
around him than he might have done of falling rain or hail. 
In their excitement and fury the men aimed wildly and at 
random ; so that, although his body was a constant target 
for their bullets, the deserter remained unharmed. 

Presently, discovering all attempts to be unavailing, the 
gendarmes withdrew out of reach in eager consultation. 
Behind them, filling the aperture of the Gate, gathered 
villagers of both sexes, from whose lips from time to time 
came low cries of terror and amaze. 

Finding the position his own and his security no longer 
assailed, Rohan withdrew back into the Cave. 

But the patience of the besiegers had been long exhausted, 
and the suspension of attack was not destined to last long. 
Now that they possessed scaling ladders and other imple- 
ments of attack ready to their hand, they were determined, 
at any risk, to unearth the creature who had resisted them 
so calmly for so prolonged a period. Dead or alive, they 
would secure him ; and that night. The storm which was 
raging all around did not interfere with their manoeuvres ; 
on the contrary, it facilitated them ; and from time to time, 
when the moon was veiled under the clouds and all was 
darkness and confusion, the assault seemed easy. 

Under cover of a sharp fire of bullets given by a file of 
gendarmes told off for that purpose, a number of men again 
advanced to the attack. Lying flat on his face, Rohan kept 
himself well concealed behind the heap of rocks and stones 
which he had accumulated at the mouth of the Cave ; so 
that, although he presented no mark ior the bullets, his arms 
were ready to precipitate his heavy missiles on those below. 
So soon as the advance was made, and the ladders were 
rested against the face of the cliff, the defence began anew. 

Showers of rocks, great and small, rolled down from the 
Troic. Had some of the larger missiles struck their mark 
the result would speedily have been fatal ; but the besiegers 
were wary, and by their rapid movements escaped much of 



VICTORY. 299 

Rohan's point-blank fire. From time to time, indeed, there 
was a yell of fury when a stray stone struck home and 
caused some furious besieger to limp or crawl back to his 
comrades in the safe part of the Cathedral ; but as yet no 
man was dangerously hurt, and ere long the ladders were 
again safely placed against the cliff, and men began rapidly 
to ascend. It was now that Rohan, springing erect and 
holding high in the air a huge fragment of rock, dashed it 
down with incredible force and fury on one of the ladders. 
Fortunately, no human being had reached the point where 
the rock struck ; but the rungs of the ladder snapped like 
dry faggots, and amid a yell of execration, the entire ladder 
itself collapsed, and those who were climbing fell back 
heavily, bleeding and half stunned. 

" Fire ! fire ! " shrieked Pipriac, pointing at the figure of 
Rohan, which was now distinctly visible above him in the 
moonlight. Before the command could be obeyed Rohan 
had crouched down under shelter, and the bullets rained 
harmlessly round the spot where he had just stood. 

"Devil! deserter! chouan !" yelled the infuriated Ser- 
geant, shaking his fist impotently at the Trou. " We will 
have you alive or dead ! " — and turning again to his men, he 
cried, " Forward again ! to the attack ! " 

Again the body of men moved forward under cover of fire, 
and again the extraordinary contest was renewed. 

It was a scene to be remembered. The dark masses 
moying and crying in the Cathedral, with glistening of 
bayonets and flashing of guns ; the wild astonished groups 
of villagers congregated at the Gate, far without which the 
sea was roaring and gleaming in furious storm ; the great 
black cliffs above, reaching up as it were into the very 
heaven, and ever and again gleaming like sheet-lightning 
under the sudden illumination of the moon ; and high up 
above the Cathedral floor the lonely Cave, with the wild 
figure of a man coming and going across it like a ghost. To 
the cannonade of wind and sea, before which the mighty 
crags seemed t*> shake to their foundations, there was added 



300 THE. oHADOW OF THE SWORl,, 

the sharp sound of the muskets and the hoarse roaring from 
the throats of men ; but at intervals, when all sounds ceased 
for an instant, both the roar of the elements and the dis- 
turbing cries of mortals, the stillness was deathlike though 
momentary, and you could distinctly hear the cry of some 
disturbed sea-bird far up among the crags. 

The conflict grew tumultuous. As a succession of huge 
clouds came up obscuring the moon for many minutes 
together, there was frequently almost total darkness. 

Only the extraordinary impregnability of Rohan's position 
prevented it from being carried twenty times over ; for as 
the time flew, and the attack continued unabated, the man's 
strength began to fail him. Hours passed, and he still suc- 
ceeded in keeping his enemies at bay ; but his hands were 
bleeding from the sharp rocks, his head seemed whirling 
round, his eyes were blinded with fatigue, and he heard 
rather than saw the crowd that raged and climbed beneath 
his feet. For, remember, he was spent with hunger, worn 
with long watching and waiting, and he possessed only a 
tithe of his old gigantic strength. 

Again and again the besiegers were repulsed ; more than 
one was wounded and had crept away ; but the shower of 
rocks continued terrific whenever they approached again. 
Over all the other tumult rose the voice of Pipriac urging 
on his men. 

Had the gendarmes been marksmen Rohan would have 
fallen early in the fight ; but partly from want of skill, and 
partly from excessive excitement, they fired at random, until 
their ammunition was almost spent. 

Many hours had passed away when the besiegers made a 
final attack, more desperate than any that had taken place 
before. Advancing under cover of darkness, they set their 
ladder against the cliff, while their comrades covered the 
mouth of the Cave with their guns. In a moment Rohan 
had sprung up again, and had hurled back the ladder with 
tremendous strength. There was a flash — a roar — and once 
more the bullets rained round him. He drew back startled, 



VICTORY. 301 

and before he could recover himself the assault was re- 
newed. 

Simultaneously with the central attack two gendawnes, 
taking off their shoes and holding their bayonets between 
their teeth, began, completely unseen and unsuspected, to 
make their way upward by the fissures in the rock at the side 
of the "Altar." Rohan had twice again hurled back the 
ladder, and was in the act of discharging a fresh volley of 
stones, when he was startled by the apparition of two human 
faces rising at his feet and glaring upward. A wild exclama- 
tion burst from his lips, and, stooping down, he loosened 
from the rock at his feet two convulsive human hands. 

With a shrill cry, the man fell backward into the crowd 
below ; fortunately, his fall was broken by the moving, 
heaving mass, and although he was half stunned, and half 
stunned several others, he was not killed. Meantime his 
companion, fearful of meeting the same fate, had rapidly 
descended. 

But in the meantime the ladder was again fixed and held 
firmly down against the cliff, while more men were climbing. 
By this time Rohan was well-nigh exhausted and yielding 
rapidly to a species of vertigo. He no longer saw his 
enemies ; but, seizing rock after rock, hurled them down 
furiously into the darkness ! Suddenly, however, he became 
conscious of dark figures rising to him from below. His 
head swam round. Uplifting with all his strength a gigantic 
fragment of rock, almost the last remaining of his store, he 
poised it for one moment over his head, and then, with a 
wild cry, hurled it downward at the shapes he saw approach- 
ing ! There was a crash, a shriek ; under the frightful 
weight of the rock the ladder yielded, and the figures upon 
it shrank groaning down ; horrible cries followed, of agony 
and terror ; — and then, overcome by his excitement and 
fatigue, Rohan swooned away. 

How long he lay unconscious he could not tell ; but when 
he opened his eyes he was lying unmolested in the mouth of 



302 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the Cave. The wind was still crying and the sea was still 
roaring, but all other sounds were silent ; and when, re- 
membering his recent peril, and half expecting to find himself 
face to face with his enemies, he started up and gazed around 
him, he saw no sign of any human being. The moon was 
out without a cloud, her beams were flooding the Cathedral 
of St. Gildas ; and lo ! the foaming tide had entered the 
Gate and was rapidly creeping nearer and nearer to the 
great Altar. The silence was now explained. The besiegers 
had withdrawn, as before, at the tide's approach, and left 
him master of the situation. 

Peering over into the gloom he saw the shingle below 
thickly strewn with huge rocks and stones, the debris of the 
recent struggle, but of any lingering human being there was 
no sign. Indeed, for any one remaining in the Cathedral, 
and lacking the skill or power to ascend to the Cave, there 
would only have been one doom — a swift death in the cruel, 
crawling tide. Inch by inch, foot by foot, the stormy waters 
were coming in, and already the great Cathedral floor was 
half paved with the liquid, shimmering pools. 

Well, the battle was over, and he had conquered ; and 
indeed properly provisioned for the purpose, and duly re- 
covered from the effects of his long privation, he could have 
held the position for an indefinite period against hundreds of 
men. But now, alas ! all his force had gone from him. 
Hunger and cold had done their work, and the last citadel 
of his bodily strength seemed overcome. Trembling and 
shivering he looked around him, conscious of no feeling 
save a sense of utter desolation and despair. He had held 
out bravely, but he felt that he could hold out no longer ; 
ne was safe for a little space, but he knew that his perse- 
cutors would soon return ; and altogether both man and God 
seemed against him, as he had feared and believed from the 
Deginning. 

The Gate of the Carthedral was now full of the boiling, 
fashing, whirling waves, and the floor was more than two- 
foirds covered. A roar like thunder was in the air, and the 



VICTORY. 303 

salt flakes of foam were blown by the wind up into his very 
face. As he stooped again, gazed down, he beheld for the 
first time, right under him in the moonlight, something which 
riveted his attention, something dark and moveless, extended 
on the shingle immediately below the Cave, and towards 
which the tide was rapidly rushing, with white lips ready to 
touch and tear ! 

He gazed on for some moments in silent fascination, his 
heart quite cold and sick with dread ; then eager to satisfy 
a wild curiosity, he prepared to descend the face of the cliff. 




CHAPTER XXXVII. 

THE MIRAGE OF LEIPSIC. 

• LOWLY, swinging in the darkness, Rohan 
descended the face of the cliff until he reached 
the narrow place of shingle below, on which 
the troubled tide was momentarily creeping ; 
and suddenly the moonlight came out anew 
upon the Cathedral, flooding its weedy walls and watery 
floor with streams of liquid silver. The wind still shrieked 
and moaned, and the sea roared terribly without the Gate ; 
but within the Cathedral there was a solemn calm, as in 
some consecrated temple made by hands. 

Slipping down upon the wet shingle, and involuntarily 
looking from side to side in dread of a pursuer, Rohan saw 
the sea rushing in through the Gate with a roar like thunder 
and a snow-white flash of foam ; and the waters as they 
entered boiled in eddies, whirling round and round, while 
the great far-away heart of the ocean uplifted them in one 
throbbing pulsation till they washed and splashed wildly 
against the dripping walls. Overhead the moving heavens, 
roofing the great Cathedral, were sailing past, drifting and 
changing, brightening and darkening, in one wild rush of 
wavelike shades and gleams. So loud was the tumult that 
it would have drowned a strong man's shriek as easily as an 
infant's cry. 

But the light of the moon increased, illuming the boiling 



THE MIRAGE OF LEIPStC. 305 

surge within the Gate and creeping onward until it touched 
the very feet of the fugitive. Rohan shivered, as if a cold 
hand had been laid on his shoulder ; for the rays fell 
luminously on something horrible — on a white face upturned 
to the sky. 

He drew back with a shudder. After a moment he 
looked again. The face was still there, touched by the 
glimmering fingers of the moon ; and half resting on the 
shingle, half submerged in the waters of the still rising tide, 
was the body of a man. 

One of the great rocks hurled down by Rohan in his mad 
fury had struck the creature down; hence, doubtless, that 
wild shriek of horror which had arisen from his pursuers 
before they fled. The rock still lay upon the man's crushed 
breast, for death had been instantaneous. One white hand 
glimmered from beneath, while the awful face looked with 
open eyes at heaven. 

Words cannot depict, human language is too weak to 
represent, the feelings which at that moment filled the soul 
of Rohan Gwenfern. A dull, dumb sensation, morally the 
analogue of the physical feeling of intense cold, numbed an<£ 
for the time being paralysed his faculties ; so that he stag- 
gered and almost fell ; and his own heart seemed crushed 
under a load like the rock upon the dead man's breast. Fire 
flashed before his eyes, with a horrid glimmer of blood. He 
was compelled to lean his head against the crag, breathing 
hard like a thing in mcrtal pain. 

His first wild emotions of wrath and bloodthirst nad worn 
away, now that his enemies were no longer near to fan the 
fierce flames to fury. The Battle was over, and he was the 
Victor, standing alone upon the field ; and at his feet, the 
Slain. 

If at that moment his persecutors had returned he might 
have renewed the fray, have struck again, and have been 
thenceforth insensible to blood ; but it had been so willed 
that his victory should be complete as well as single ; his 
enemies would not return that night, and they had left 



3o6 THE SHADOW OP THE SWORD. 

behind them, glimmering solitary in the moonlight, theii 
dead ! 

Bear in mind that Rohan, like all men of his race and 
religion, had been familiar with Death before, under other 
and more beautiful conditions. The gentle sleep of men 
and women dying in their beds ; the low farewell of wearied- 
out old age, blest by the Church and consecrated by the 
priest — these he knew well ; and he had loved to hear the solemn 
music of the Celtic dirge sung round the shrouded forms of 
those who had passed away under natural circumstances. 
His hands were bloodless then. He had now to realize, 
under the fullest and most terrible of conditions, the presence 
of the cold Phantom as it appears to the eyes of murderers 
and of uninitiated men upon the battle-field. He had now 
to conceive, with a horrible and sickening fascination, that 
his hands had destroyed that strangest and solemnest of 
mysteries — a breathing, moving human life. 

True, he was vindicated by the circumstance that he had 
merely stricken in self-defence ; but what is circumstance to 
one whose soul, like Rohan Gwenfern's, is fashioned of stuff 
as sensitive as the feelers of the gleaming medusas of the 
ocean ? For him there was but one perception. A blinding 
white light of agony arose before him. He, whose heart 
was framed of gentleness, whose nature was born and bred 
in love and kindness, he out of whose hand the lamb ate and 
the dove fed, who had never before destroyed any creature 
with life, not even the helpless sea-birds of the crags, had 
now done dreadful murder, had hurried into eternity the 
miserable soul of a fellow man. For him, for Rohan Gwen- 
fern, there was no vindication. Life was poisoned to him ; 
the air he breathed was sick and sacrificial. This, then, 
was the end of all his dreams of love and peace ! 

The clouds drifted above him with flying gleams of moon- 
light, the wind shrieked and the sea roared with hollow 
cannonade beyond the Gate, as, partially recovering his self- 
possession, he stooped down to gaze at the face of the mur- 
dered man In his terror he was praying that he might 



WE MIRAGE OF LEIPSIC. 307 

recognise some bitter enemy — Mikel Grallon, for example, — 
and thus discover a partial justification for his own deed. 
The first look made him despair. The man wore uniform, 
and his hair and beard were quite white. It was Pipriac 
himself, gazing with a bloodless face at heaven ! 

Strangely enough, he had never, although Pipriac led the 
besieging party, looked upon him in the light of a deadly foe. 
He had been his father's boon-comrade ; under all his fierce 
swash-buckler air, there had ever existed a certain rude 
generosity and bonhomie; and after all he had only been 
doing his duty in attempting to secure a deserter dead or alive. 
In his own mind, moreover, Rohan knew that Pipriac would 
cheerfully have winked at his escape, had such escape been 
possible. 

Death gives strange dignity to the commonest of faces, and 
the features of the eld Sergeant look solemn and venerable 
in their fixed and awful pallor. The moon rises high over 
the Cathedral, within which the tide has now grown calm ; 
but the waters, the deep ululation of which fills the air, have 
now reached to Rohan's feet. Above, the mighty crags rise 
black as jet, save where at intervals some space of moist 
granite flashes in the changeful light. . . . Rohan listens. 
Far overhead there is a sound like human voices, dying 
faintly away. 

And now, old Pipriac, all thy grim jokes and oaths are 
over, all thy voice is hushed for ever, and the frame that once 
strutted in the sunshine floats idly as a weed in the shallows 
of the tide. Bottle of red wine or flask of corn brandy will 
never delight thee more. Thou, too, hast fallen at thy post 
with many a thousand better men, in the cause of the great 
Colossus who bestrides the world ; and though thy fall has 
been inglorious and far away from all the splendours of the 
busy field, thou hast fulfilled thine allotted task, my veteran, 
as truly as any of the rest. After all, thou wast a good fellow, 
and thy heart was kindly, though thy tongue was rough. So 
at least thinks Rohan Gwenfern, as he bends above thee, 
looking sadly in thy face. 



*A THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Ah God, to kill ! — to quench the living spark in howsoever 
base a heart it burns ! To strike down the quivering life, to 
let loose the sad and perhaps despairing soul ! Better to be 
dead like Pipriac, than to be looking down with this agony o'. 
the heart, as Rohan is looking now. 

The heavy rock still lies on Pipriac's breast ; but now, 
stooping softly, Rohan lifts it in his arms and casts it out into 
the tide. The corpse, freed from its load, washes upward 
and swings from side to side as if it lived, and turning over 
on its stomach, floats face downward at Rohan's feet. And 
now the place where Rohan stands is ankle-deep, and the tide 
has yet another hour to rise. With one last despairing look 
at the dead man, Rohan turns away, and slowly, with feet 
and hands that tremble in the fissures of the rock, reascends 
to the Cave above. 

Scarcely has he reached his old position when his -sense is 
once more attracted by the sound of voices far above him. 
He starts, listening intently, and looks upward. Then, for 
the first time, the reality of his situation returns upon him, 
and he remembers the consequences of his own deed, 
Though he has slain a man in self-defence, rather than be- 
come an authentic and accredited slayer of men, his act, in 
the eye of the law, is murder, and doubtless, sooner or later, 
he will have to die a murderer's death. 

Stooping over from the Cave, he gazes down on the spot 
where he so lately stood. The floor of the Cathedral is now 
completely covered, and there, glimmering in one gleaming 
patch of moonlight, is the sight he dreads. He utters a wild 
cry of agony and despair and falls upon his knees. 

Hear him, O merciful God, for he is praying ! Have pity, 
and hearken to his entreaty, for he is in Thy hand ! Ah, 
but this wild cry which rises on the night is not a gentle 
prayer for pity or for mercy ; say rather, it is a frantic wail 
for redress and for revenge. " I have been innocent in this 
thing, O God ; not on my head be the guilt, but on his who 
hunted me down and made me what I am ; on him whose 
red Sword shadows all the world, on him who points Thy 



THE MIRAGE OF LEIPSIC. 309 

creatures on to doom, let the just retribution fall ! As he has 
curst my days, be his accurst ; and spare him not, O God ! " 
Even thus, not in such speech, but with the same annihilating 
thought, prays — or curses — Rohan Gwenfern. Then, rising 
wildly to his feet, careless now of his life, he follows the dizzy 
path that leads up the face of the cliffs. 

The date of that night is' memorable. It was the 19th of 
October, 181 3. 

The circumstance which we are now about to relate is 
variously given by those familiar with Rohan Gwenfern's life- 
history. Some, among the more credulous and superstitious, 
believe that the man actually on that occasion beheld an apo- 
calyptic vision ; others, although admitting that he seemed 
to see such a vision, affirm that it must have been merely 
mental and psychical, due to the wanderings of a naturally 
wild and temporarily conscience-stricken imagination ; while 
the purely sceptical, forming a small minority, go the length 
of affirming that the fancy only occurred to the man in after 
years, when mind and memory were so confused as to blend 
all associations into one extraordinary picture. Be that as it 
may, the story, resting on the solemn testimony of the man 
himself, asserts that Rohan Gwenfern, as he fled upward that 
night from the scene of his conflict and left the body of 
Pipriac floating in the sea below him, was suddenly arrested 
by a miraculous Mirage in the heavens. 

The moon had passed into a cloud, whence, as from the 
folds of a transparent tent, her light was diffused over the 
open sky ; tumultously, in troubled masses, the vapours 
still continued to drift in the direction in which the wind was 
blowing : when suddenly, as if at the signal of a Hand, the wind 
ceased, the clouds stood still, and there was silence both in 
sky and sea. This terrible silence only lasted for a moment, 
during which Rohan hung his head in horrible expectation. 
Gazing up once more, he saw the forms of heaven again in 
motion ; and lo ! they had assumed the likeness of mighty 
Armies tumultously passing overhead. The vision grew. 



310 THE SHADOW OP THE SWORD. 

He saw the flashing of steel, the movement of great tioclies ot 
men, — the heavy squadrons of soldiers on foot, the dark 
silhouette of the artillery rapidly drawn ! 

The Mirage extended. The whole heavens became as the 
moon r vt earth, crossed by moving bodies of men, and strewn 
with dead and dying ; and in the heart of heaven was a great 
river, through which the tumultuous legions came. 

Clear and distinct, yet ghostlike and unreal, the Shapes 
passed by ; and far away as the faces loomed he seemed to 
see each one distinctly, like that dead face from which he was 
flying. Presently, however, all his faculties became absorbed 
in the contemplation of one Form which rose gigantic, close 
to the semi-lucent cloud which veiled the moon. 

It sat on horseback, cloaked and hooded, with one hand 
pointing onward ; and though its outline was gigantic, far 
exceeding that of any human thing, its face seemed that of a 
man. He saw the face clearly, white as marble, cold as 
death. 

Slowly, as a cloud moves, this Form passed across the 
heavens ; and all around it the flying legions gathered, 
pointed on in flight by the index finger of its hand ; but the 
head was dejected, the chin drooped upon the breast, and the 
eyes, cold and pitiless, looked down in still despair. Awe- 
stricken, amazed, Rohan stood stretching his hands upwards 
with a cry, for the lineaments on which he gazed seemed al- 
most godlike, and the Form too seemed divine. But as he 
looked the features took another likeness and grew terribly 
familiar, until he recognised the face which had so long 
haunted his life, and which the white Christ had once revealed 
to him in dream ! 

Column after column moved past, the whole heavens were 
darkened, and in their midst, satanic and commanding, 
moved the Phantom of Bonaparte. 

It was the 19th of October 1813, and at that very moment 
the French armies were in full retreat from Leipsic — with 
Bonaparte at their head. 




CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

" HOME THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD." 

■ HEN the besieging party returned to the Cathedral 
they found the body of the Sergeant stranded high 
and dry near the Gate. Not without fear and 
trembling, they again placed their ladders against 
the wall, and mounting without opposition 
searched the Cave. However, not a trace of Rohan was to be 
found ; horror-stricken, doubtless, at his own deed, he had fled 
— whither they knew not, nor did they greatly care just then to 
know, for the death of Pipriac had filled them with terror and 
amaze. By this time dawn had come and the storm had 
ceased. Dejectedly enough, followed by a crowd of villagers, 
they bore their burthen away — out through the Gate, up the 
stairs of St. Trifnne, and along the green plateau towards 
the village. It was a sorrowful procession, for, with all his 
faults, the Sergeant was a favourite. 

Passing underneath the bunch of mistletoe which hung as a 
sign over the door of the little cabaret, they bore in their burthen 
and placed it down on the great table which stood in the 
centre of the kitchen. Then Hoel the gendarme took off his 
greatcoat and placed it over the corpse, covering the 
blood-stained face from sight. Poor old Pipriac ! Many a 
morning had he swaggered into that kitchen to taste the 
widow Cloriet's brandy ! Many a time had he smoked his 
pipe beside that, kitchen fire ! Many a time, also, with a wink 



312 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

of his one eye, had he wound his arm in tipsy affection 
round the waist of the red-haired waiting wench Yvonne ! 
It was all over now, and there he lay, a statelier and more 
solemn figure than he had ever been in life ; while the 
trembling widow, in honour of the sad occasion, distributed 
little cordial glasses all round. 

The cabaret was soon full, for the dreadful news had spread 
far and wide. Ere long the little Priest, with a face as white 
as a sheet, entered in, and, kneeling by the dead man's side, 
said a long and silent prayer. When he had finished he 
rose to his feet and questioned the gendarmes. 

"And the other — Rohan — where is he ? Is he taken ? " 

The gendarme Hoel shook his head. 

" He is not taken, and never will be taken, alive ; we have 
searched the Cave, the cliffs ; but the Fiend protects him, 
Father Rolland, and it is all in vain." 

There was a loud murmur of astonishment and acqui- 
escence. 

"How did it all happen?" pursued the Priest. "You 
attempted to take him, and he struck in self-defence ; but 
then ? " 

This was the signal for Hoel to launch forth into a long 
description of the latter part of the siege, during which he was 
ever and anon interrupted by his excited comrades. The 
consensus of testimony went to show that Rohan, in his 
maniacal resistance, had neither been alone nor unassisted, 
but that, in the shadow of the night, and amid the loudness 
of the storm, he had conjured to his aid the powers of dark- 
ness, whose hands had hurled down upon the besiegers 
fragments of rock far too huge to be uplifted by human 
strength. That he had sold himself to the Devil, who had 
formally undertaken to protect him from the Emperor, was a 
statement which received general affirmation. " Master 
Roberd," it was well known, was ever on the look-out for such 
bargains ; and the belief that he had been leagued with the 
deserter against them flattered alike the vanity of the 
gendarmes and their superstition 



THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD. 313 

Down from his cottage stumped the old Corporal, followed 
by the remnant of his " Maccabees ;" and when he looked in 
the dead man's face his eyes were for a moment dim. 

" Peace to his soul — he was a brave man ! " ejaculated 
the veteran. " He did his duty to the Emperor, and the 
good God will give him his reward." 

" And after all," said the Priest in a low voice, " he died 
in fair fight, as it might be on the open field." 

" That is not so," answered the Corporal firmly, looking 
very white round the edges of his mouth. " That is not so, 
m'st'eur le aird, for he was foully murdered by a coward and 
a chonan, whom God will punish in his turn. Hear me — I 
say it, though the man was flesh and blood of mine." 

The little curd shook his head dolefully. 

" It is a sad thing, and it all comes, doubtless, of resisting 
the laws of the Emperor ; but look you, it was a matter of 
life and death, and if he had not stricken in self-defence, he 
would have been taken and slain. After all, it was one man 
against many." 

" One man ! — a thousand Devils ! ' cried Hoel, uncon- 
sciously repeating his dead leader's favourite expression. 

" He was wrong from the beginning," pursued the Priest 
moralising. " One man cannot set the world right if it is in 
error ; and it is one's place to obey the law, and to do one's 
duty to God and the Emperor. He would not obey, and 
now he has shed blood, for which, alas ! the good God will 
have a reckoning late or soon." 

To such purpose, and in so many words, moralised Father 
Rolland ; and those who heard shuddered and crossed them- 
selves in fear. It occurred to no one present to reflect that 
Pipriac had fallen in fair war, in a war, moreover, in which 
he was the aggressor ; and that Rohan Gwenfern was as 
justified in the sight of Heaven as any qualified licentiate of 
the art of killing. So strange a law is it of our human con- 
sciousness, that murder loses its horror when multiplied by 
twenty thousand ! Those who would have calmly surveyed 
a battle-field strewn with dead could not regard one solitary 



314 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

corpse with equanimity. Those who would have adored 
Napoleon as a great man, who would have kissed his raiment- 
hem in reverence and tears, turned their hearts against Gwen- 
fern as against some base and abominable creature. 

"Aunt Loiz, it is all true ! Pipriac is dead, and they have 
carried his body up yonder ; but Rohan is yet alive. Yes, 
he has killed Pipriac." 

" What could he do ? It was a fight for life." 

"And now no man will pity him, for there is blood upon 
his hands ; and no man will give him bread or yield him 
shelter ; and till he yields himself up no priest will shrive his 
poor soul and make his peace with God." 

" Is that so, Marcelle?" 

" Yes, they all say it is murder— even Father Rolland, who 
has a kind heart. But it is false, Aunt Loiz ! " 

" Of course it is false ; for what could he do ? It is they 
who are to blame, not he, not my poor persecuted boy. May 
the good God forgive him, for he struck in self-defence, and 
he was mad. O my son, my son i " 

They sat together in the cottage under the cliff, and they 
spoke, with sobs and tears, clinging to each other. The 
horror of Rohan's deed lay upon them like some frightful 
shadow. It seemed like horrible blasphemy to have struck 
down the emissary of the great Emperor ; and they knew that 
for such a deed, however justifiable, there would be no mercy, 
and that for such a murderer there would be no pity. Rohan 
was outlawed for ever, and every human hand would now be 
raised against him. 

To them, as they sat together, came Jan Goron, with more 
tidings of what was going on in the village. The gendarmes, 
furious and revengeful, had been searching the Cave and 
scouring the cliffs again, but not a trace of Rohan could 
now be found. In the darkness and confusion of last night's 
storm he had doubtless sought some other hiding-place. 

" There is other news," said Goron, anxious to change the 
sad subject. " The King of Saxony has deserted the 



THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD. 315 

Emperor, and the armies of France have fallen back on 
Leipsic. Some say the Emperor is meeting his match at 
last, and that all the Kings are now against him. Well, he 
has eaten half a dozen Kings for breakfast before now, and 
will do so again." 

■ At another timethesetidings wouldhavegreatly excited Mar' 
celle Derval ; but now they seemed almost devoid of interest. 
The fortunes of France and the Emperor were utterly for- 
gotten in her individual trouble. However, she shrugged 
her pretty shoulders incredulously when Goron hinted at 
defeat, and said listlessly — 

" At Leipsic, say you ? — both Hoel and Gildas will be 
there." And she added in a low weary voice, " We had a 
letter from Gildas last week, and he has been three times 
under fire without so much as a scratch or a burn. He has 
seen the Emperor quite close, and he says he is looking very 
old. Hoel, too, is well. . . Ah, God, if my cousin Rohan 
were with them as he might have been, happy and well and 
strong, fighting for the Emperor ! " 

As she spoke her tears burst forth again, and Mother Gwen- 
Fern answered her with a bitter wail. Yes, this doubtless was 
the bitterest of all : the feeling that Rohan had been madly 
flying from a mere phantom, and that, had he quietly accepted 
his fate, he would still have been living honoured and happy, 
like Hoel and Gildas. By doing his duty and becoming a 
brave soldier, he would have avoided all that series of troubles 
and sins which had been the consequence of his resistance. 
Blood he might have shed, but only the blood of enemies ; 
which, as all good patriots knew, would have been of small 
consequence ! It was not for simple women like these to 
grasp the sublime truth that all men are brothers, and that 
even staunch patriots may wear the livery of Cain. 

Night came on, black and stormy. The wind, which had 
fallen during the day, rose again, and heavens and seas were 
blindly blent together. In the cottage, which quaked with 
every blast and cowe*»d before the fierce torrents of rain, 



316 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Marcelle still lingered, having sent word home that she would 
not return that night. 

The turf fire had burnt nearly out, and the only light in the 
hut was cast by a miserable lamp which swung from the 
rafters. Side by side, now speaking in whispers, now silent, 
the women sat on the rude form before the fire ; feeling all 
the world against them, heart-broken, soul-stricken, listening 
to the elements that raved without and echoed the hopeless 
wail of their own weary lives. Suddenly, above the roaring 
of the wind and the beating of the rain, they heard a sound 
without — something tapping at the pane. 

Marcelle rose and listened. The sound was repeated, and 
followed by a low knocking at the door, the latch of which was 
secured for the night. 

" Open ! " cried a voice without. 

Something in the sound woke a wild answer in their hearts. 
The mother rose to her feet, white as death ; Marcelle 
tottered to the door and threw it open ; and silently, swiftly, 
crouching like some hunted animal, a man crept in. 

There was no need for one look, for one word, of recogni- 
tion ; swift as an electric flash the recognition came, in one 
mad leaping of the heart ; and before they could grasp his 
hand or gaze into his face they knew it was he — the one 
creature they held dearest in the world. 

Rapidly, with her characteristic presence of mind, Marcelle 
secured the door ; then, while Rohan ran shivering across to 
the nearly extinguished fire, she carefully drew the curtain of 
the window, closing all view from without. Then, too excited 
to speak, the women stood gazing with affrighted eyes at the 
new comer. Ragged and half naked, soaking and dripping, 
with his wild hair falling over his shoulders, and a beard of 
many weeks' growth covering his face, he stood, or rather 
crouched, before them, with his eyes on theirs. 

Certainly the dark heavens that night did not look down 
on any creature more pitiable ; and most pitiable of all was 
the white light upon his face, the dull dead fire that burned 
in his eyes. 



THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD. 317 

With no word or sign of greeting he gazed round him ; then, 
pointing with his hand, he cried, hoarsely — 

" Bread ! " 

Now for the first time they remembered that he was 
starving, and knew that the mad light in his face was the 
light of famine. Swiftly, without a word, Marcelle brought out 
food and placed it before him ; he seized it fiercely, and 
devoured it like a wild beast. Then the mother's heart broke 
to see him eat. Kneeling by his side, while he was eagerly 
clutching food with his right hand, she took the other hand 
and covered it with kisses. 

" O my son, my son ! " she sobbed. 

He did not seem to heed ; all his faculties seemed absorbed 
in seeking sustenance, and his eyes only moved this way and 
that like a hungry hound's. When Marcelle brought brandy 
and placed it before him — he drank ; then, and not till then, 
his eyes fell on hers with some sort of recognition, and he 
said, in a hard and hollow voice — 

" Is it thou, Marcelle ? " 

She did not reply, but her eyes were blind with tears ; then 
he laughed vacantly, and looked down at his mother. 

" I was starving, and so I came ; they are busy up there, 
and they will not follow ; but if they do, I am ready. You 
have heard of Pipriac ? the old fool has got his deserts, that 
is all ! What a night ! " 

There was something in his tone so reckless, so distraught, 
that they almost shrank away from him, and ever and anon 
he gave a low mindless laugh, very painful to hear. Presently 
he gazed again at Marcelle, saying — 

" You keep your good looks, little one : ah, but you have 
never known what it is to starve ! But for the starvation, 
look you, it would all have been a good joke. See, I am worn 
to the bone — I have no flesh left — if you met me out of doors 
you would say I was a ghost. How you look at me ! I 
frighten you, and no wonder, Marcelle Derval. Ah, Godl 
you are afraid ! " 

" No, Rohan, T am not afraid ! " answered the girl, sobbing. 



318 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. ■ 

For a moment or two he looked fixedly at her, then his 
breast heaved painfully, and he held his hand upon his heart. 

" Tell me, then," he cried quickly, " why do you look at me 
like that ? Do you hate me ? Mother of God, answer ! Do 
you hate me, now f " 

" No, no ! — God help you, Rohan ! " 

And she sank, still sobbing, at his feet ; and while the 
widow grasped one hand, she held the other, resting her head 
upon his knee. He sat spell-bound, like one between sleep 
and waking, while his frame was shaken with the sobs of his 
mother and his beloved. Suddenly he snatched his hands 
away. 

" You are mad, 1 think, you women ; you do not know 
what you are touching ; you do not know whom you are em- 
bracing. God and men are against me, for I am a murderer, 
and for murderers there is no mercy. Look you, I have 
killed Pipriac, who was my father's friend. Ah, if you had 
seen — it was horrible ! The rock crushed in his breast like 
a crab's shell, and in a moment he was dead — old Pipriac, 
whom my father loved ! " 

Their answer was a low wail, but they only clung theclosel 
to him, and both his hands were wet with tears. His own 
soul was shaken, and his feverish eyes grew dim and moist 
Reaching out his trembling arms, he drew the women to him 
with a low heart-broken cry. 

"Mother! Marcelle ! you do not hate me, you are not 
afraid ? " 

They looked up into his face, and their features shone with 
that love which passeth understanding. The old worn woman 
and the pale beautiful girl alike looked up with the same 
passionate yearning, holding him the dearer for his sorrows, 
even for his sins. His eyes lingered most on the countenance 
of Marcelle ; her devotion was an unexpected revelation. 
Then across his brain flashed the memory of all the happy 
past, and, hiding his face in his hands, he sobbed like a child, 
but almost without tears — for tears his famished heart was 
too dry. 



THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD. 319 

Suddenly, while they watched him in awe and pain, his 
attitude changed, and he sprung wildly to his feet, listening 
with that fierce look upon his face which they at first had 
feared so much. Despite the sound of wind and rain, his 
quick ear had detected footfalls on the shingle outside the 
cottage. 

Before they could say another word a knock came to the 
door. 

" Put out the light ! " whispered Marcelle ; and in a 
moment Rohan had extinguished the swinging lamp, which, 
indeed, had almost burnt out already. The cottage was now 
quite dark ; and while Rohan, creeping across the floor, con- 
cealed himself in the blackest corner of the chamber, Mar- 
celle crossed over to the door. 

" Within there ! " cried a voice. " Answer, I say ! Will 
you keep a good Christian dripping here all night like a 
drowned rat ? " 

"You cannot enter," said Marcelle; "it is too late, and 
we are abed." 

The answer was a heavy blow on the door, which was only 
secured by a frail latch. 

" I know your voice, Marcelle Derval, and I have come 
all this way to find you out. I have news to tell you ; so 
open at once. It is I, Mikel Grallon ! " 

" Whoever you are, go away ! " answered Marcelle in 
agony. 

" Go away ? Not I, till I have seen and spoken with you. 
Open the door, or I will break it open — Ah ! " 

As he spoke, the man dealt heavy blows upon the frail 
woodwork, and suddenly, before Marcelle could interfere, 
the latch yielded, and the door, to which there was no bolt, 
flew open. Mother Gwenfern uttered a scream, while, amid 
a roar of wind and a shower of rain, Mikel Grallon entered 
in. But white as death Marcelle blocked up the entrance, 
and when the man's heavy form fell against her, pushed it 
'fiercely back. 

"What brings you here at this time, Mikel Grallon?" 



J20 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

she demanded. " Stand still — you shall not pass another 
step. Ah, that Alain, or Jannick, or even my uncle were 
here, you would not dare ! Begone, or I shall strike you, 
though I am only a girl." 

The reply was an imbecile laugh ; and now for the first 
time Marcelle perceived that Grallon was under the influence 
of strong drink. His usually subdued and deliberate air was 
exchanged for one of impudent audacity, and his voice was 
insolent, threatening, and devil-may-care. 

" Strike me ! " he cried huskily ; " I do not think your 
little hand will hurt much ; but I know you do not mean it 
— it is only the way of you women. Ah, my little Marcelle, 
you and I understand each other, and it is all settled ; it is 
all settled, and your uncle is pleased. Now that that coward 
of a cousin is done for, you will listen to reason— will you 
not, Marcelle Grallon ? Ah, yes, for Marcelle Grallon 
sounds prettier than Marcelle Derval ! " 

Leering tipsily, he advanced, and before she could resist 
had thrown his arms around her ; she struggled in his hold, 
and struck him with her clenched hand upon the face, but 
he only laughed. Strange to say, she uttered no cry. Her 
heart was too full of terror lest Rohan, whom she knew to 
be listening, should betray himself or be discovered. 

" Let me go ! " she said in a low intense voice. " In God's 
name, let me go ! " 

So saying, with a powerful effort, she shook herself free, 
while Grallon staggered forward into the centre of the room. 
Recovering himself with a fierce oath, he found himself face 
to face with Mother Gwenfern, who, with wild skeleton 
frame and gleaming eyes, stood before him like some weary 
ghost. " Aha, you are there, mother 1 " he cried, as his eyes 
fell upon her. "Well, I suppose you have heard all the 
n.2ws, and you know now what to think of your wretch of a 
son. He has killed a man, and when he is caught, which 
will be soon, he will be tortured like a dog. This is your 
reward for bringing cowards into the world, old woman. I 
am sorry for you, but it is you that are to blame." 



THEY BROUGHT THEIR WARRIOR DEAD. 321 

" Silence, Mikel Grallon ! " said Marcelle, still terror- 
stricken ; " silence, and go away. For the love of the Virgin 
go away this night, and leave us in peace." 

She had come quite close to him as she spoke, and he 
again reached out his arms and seized her with a laugh. 

" I have come down to fetch you back," he said, " for 
you shall not sleep under this roof. As sure as you will be 
Marcelle Grallon you shall not stay ; the home of a chouan 
and a coward is no place for you, and Mother Gwenfern 
knows that as well as I know it. Do not be obstinate, or I 
shall be angry — I, who adore you. Ah ! you may struggle, 
but I have you fast." 

His arms were around her, and his hot face was pressed 
close to hers, when suddenly a hand interposed, and, seizing 
Grallon by the throat with terrific grip, choked him off. It 
was the work of a moment ; and Grallon, looking up in 
stupefaction, found himself in the hold of a man who was 
gazing down upon him with eyes of murderous rage. Then 
his blood went cold with terror, for even in the dimness of 
the room he recognised Gwenfern. 

" Help ! the deserter ! help ! " he gasped ; hut one iron 
hand was on his throat, and another was uplifted to smite 
and bruise him down. 

" Silence ! " said Rohan, while the wretch groaned half 
strangled ; then he said in a lower, more intense voice, " I 
have you now, Mikel Grallon. If you know a prayer say it 
quickly, for I mean to kill you. Ah, wretch ! to you I owe 
so much that I have suffered ; you have hunted me down 
like a dog, you have driven me mad with hunger and cold, 
but now it is my turn. Pipriac is dead, but you are more 
guilty than Pipriac, and you shall follow him to-night." 

Grallon struggled and gasped for breath ; sober now 
through sheer excess of terror, he glared up at his captor 
and writhed in vain to set himself free. It would doubtless 
have gone ill with him, had not the two women interfered 
<ind called in agonised tones upon Rohan not to take his 
/ife. The sound of their beseeching voices seemed to allay 



322 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the fuiy in Rohan's breast and to call him to a sense of his 
own danger. He threw off Grallon, and made a movement 
as if to approach the door. 

At this juncture Grallon, finding himself free, and seeing 
Rohan about to escape, had the indiscretion to interfere once 
more. 

"Help! — the deserter! — help!" he shrieked in a loud 
voice. 

Before he could repeat the alarm Rohan had turned again 
upon him, uplifted him in his powerful arms, and dashed 
him down with great force upon the hard earthen floor, where 
he lay senseless as if dead. Then Rohan, with one last look 
at his mother and MarceUe, passed out through the door and 
disappeared into the night 



CHAPTER XXXIX 



A CHAPEL OF HATE. 




N the autumn of 1 813, it was wild weather out 
in the great world where Emperors and Kings 
were wildly struggling in a grasp of death. 
On earth, were the red shadows of armies ; in 
heaven, were the black shadows of rain ; and 
the wind blew these and those to and fro on the faces of earth 
and heaven, so that the eye looked in vain this way and that 
for a spot of sunshine and peace. The great Tidal Wave 
which had deluged Europe with blood was at last subsiding, 
and the strand was strewn with the wreck of empires and 
kingdoms and the great drifts of dead. 

Through this general storm, physical as well as political, 
Bonaparte was rapidly retreating on France . before him, 
the startled faces of his people ; behind him, the angry mur- 
mur of his foes ; and at every step he took the way darkened 
and the situation became more dire. Nevertheless, if 
chronicle is to be trusted, his face was calm, his mien com- 
posed. The fifty thousand Frenchmen lost at Leipsic sent no 
spectres to trouble him ; or, if the spectres came, he waved 
them down ! Spectres of the living — mad famished French- 
men who made hideous riot wherever they came — preceded 
and followed him : scarecrows of his old glory and his old 
renown. In this wise he came to Erfurt, where, so few years 
before, he had presided at the memorable Congress of Kings. 



324 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Things were indeed changed — even in the man's own soul. 
He could not fail to foresee — for he was not destitute of 
prophetic vision — that this was only the beginning of the end. 
One by one the powers of the earth had fallen away from 
him, and, like Death on his white steed, he was riding he 
knew not whither — shadows around and behind him ; and 
above him, still, the Shadow of the Sword. 

On the 25th of October, says the chronicler, he left Erfurt, 
" amid weather as tempestuous as his fortunes." 

It was wild weather, too, down in lonely Brittany, and in 
all the quiet old hamlets, set, like Kromlaix, by the sea. 
Black mists charged with rain brooded night and day over 
the great marshes, and over the desolate plains and moors ; 
and the salt scum and foam blew inland for miles, bringing 
rumours of the watery storm. Kromlaix crouched and 
trembled, looking seaward ; and deep under its steep street 
a voice murmured — the hidden river moaning as it ran. 

On a dark afternoon the solitary figure of a man struggled 
across the great plain which stretches within the high sea- 
wall to the north of Kromlaix. With few landmarks to guide 
him, and these few looming confusedly through a grey vapour 
of thin rain, he was proceeding slowly in the direction of the 
village, which was still several miles away. The wind had 
been rising all day, and was blowing half a gale, while 
mountains of rain-charged vapour were rising ever upward 
from the sea. He was an old man, and with wind and rain 
beating furiously in his face he made but little way. Again 
and again, to avoid the fury of the blast, he almost crouched 
upon the ground. 

He was thinly clad, in the peasant costume of the country ; 
on his back he carried a bag resembling a beggar's wallet, 
and he leant for support upon an oaken staff. 

At every step he took the storm deepened and the darkness 
grew, until he veritably seemed walking through the clouds. 
Ever and anon wild cattle, rushing for shelter, passed like 
ghosts across his path ; or some huge pile of stone glimmered 



"A CHAPEL OF HATE." 325 

and disappeared. At last, he stood confused and undecided, 
with a sound in his ears like the roaring of the sea. Just 
then he discerned, looming through the vapour, the outline 
of a building which stood alone in the very centre of the 
waste. Eager to find shelter, he hurried towards it, and soon 
stood before the door. 

The building was a ruin ; the four walls, with a portion of 
the roof, being intact, but door and windows had long since 
been swept away — perhaps by human hands in the days of 
the Revolution. The walls were black and stained with the 
slime of centuries. Above the doorway, but half obliterated, 
were these words written in antique characters — " Notre 
Dame de la Haine ; " in English, " Our Lady of Hate.'' 

For the moment the traveller hesitated ; then, with a pe- 
culiar smile, he quietly entered. Just within the doorway 
was a stone form, on which he sat down, well screened from 
the storm, and surveyed the interior of the Chapel. 

For Chapel it was, though seemingly deserted and for- 
saken ; and such buildings still stand in Brittany, as ghastly 
reminders of what, in its darkest frenzy, religion is capable 
of doing. Nor was it so forsaken as it seemed. Hither still, 
in hours of passion and pain, came men and women to cry 
curses on their enemies : the maiden on her false lover, the 
lover on his false mistress, the husband on his false wife ; pray- 
ing, one and all, that Our Lady of Hate might hearken, and 
that the hated one might die "within the year." So bright and 
so deep had the gentle Christian light shone within their 
souls ! Many, as their own passions, were the names of the 
Mother of God ; and this one of Lady of Hate was surely as 
sweet to them as that other — Mother of Love. 

The interior of the Chapel was dark with vapours and shadows. 
At the further end, which was quite roofless, loomed a 
solitary window, and through this the rain was wildly beating, 
striking in pitilessly on a mutilated stone image of Our Lady, 
which still stood on its pedestal within the space where the 
altar once had been ; — a dreary image, formless and de- 
formed ; rudely hewn of coarse stone, and now marred almost 

Y 



32b THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

beyond recognition. Yet that Our Lady's power had not al- 
together fled, or rather that firm faith in that power still re- 
mained, was attested by the rude gifts scattered at her feet : 
strings of black beads, common rosaries, coarse'lockets of 
brass and tin, even fragments of ribbon and scraps of human 
attire. One of these lockets was quite new, and held a lock 
of human hair. Woe to the head on which that hair grew, 
should Our Lady hear the prayer of her who placed it there ! 

The floor of the Chapel had been paven, but few of the 
slabs remained. Everywhere grew long grass, nettles, and 
weeds, dripping with the rain ; at the ruined altar the nettles 
and weeds grew breast-high, touching Our Lady's feet, and 
climbing up as if to cover her from human sight ; but at the 
front of the altar was a paven space, where men and women 
might kneel. 

The old man glanced into the dreary place, and sighed ; 
then taking his wallet from his back and opening it, he drew 
forth a piece of black bread and began to eat. He had 
scarcely begun, when he was startled by a sound as of a 
human voice, coming from the interior of the chapel ; peering 
through the darkness, he failed to distinguish any human 
form, but immediately after, on the sound being repeated, he 
rose and walked towards the altar, and beheld, stretched on 
the ground before the stone image, the figure of a man. 

Face downward, like a man asleep or in a swoon ; with the 
heavy rain pouring down upon him from the window above ; 
moaning and murmuring as he lay ; — an object more forlorn 
it was scarcely possible to conceive; for his rags scarcely 
covered his nakedness, his wild unkempt hair swept to his 
shoulders, and he seemed stained from head to foot with the 
clammy moisture of the storm. 

As the old man approached and bent above him, he did 
not stir ; but when, with a look of recognition, the old man 
stooped and touched him, he sprang to his feet like a wild 
beast, and, as if awakened from stupor, glared all round with 
bloodshot eyes. His face was so wild and terrible, covered 
with its matted hair and beard, and the light in his eyes was 



U A CHAPEL OF HATE." 327 

so fierce, yet so vacant and woe-begone, that the old man 
shrunk back startled. 

" Rohan ! " he said, in a low voice, " Rohan Gwenfern ! " 

The arms of Rohan, which had been outstretched to clutch 
and tear, dropped down to. his side, and his eyes rolled wildly 
on the speaker. Gradually the feline expression faded from 
his face, but the woe-begone light remained. 

" Master Arfoll ! " 

It was indeed the itinerant schoolmaster, little changed, 
though somewhat greyer and sadder than when we last saw 
him. He stretched out his arms, and with both hands grasped 
the right hand of Rohan, looking tenderly into his face. Not 
a word more was uttered for some minutes, but the powerful 
frame of Rohan shook with agitation. 

" You live ! you live ! " at last exclaimed Master Arfoll. 
" Over there, at Travnik, there was a report that you were 
dead, but I did not believe it, and I hoped on. Thank God, 
you live ! " 

Such life as lingered in that tormented frame seemed scarce 
worth thanking God for. Better to have died, one would 
have thought, than to have grown into this — a ghost — 

" A shadoWj 
Upon the skirts of human nature dwelling. " 

All wild and persecuted things are pitiful to look on, but there 
is no sadder sight on earth than the face of a hunted man. 

Presently, Master Arfoll spoke again. 

"I was going through Kromlaix, and I came hither to 
shelter from the storm. Of all the places on the earth to rind 
you here ! Ah, God, it is an evil place, and those who come 
here have evil hearts. What were you doing, my Rohan ? 
Praying ? — To Notre Dame de la Haine ! " 

Rohan, whose eyes had been fixed upon the ground, looked 
up quickly and answered, 

" Yes ! " 

"Ah, you have great wrongs, and your enemies have been 
cruel indeed. May God help you, my poor Rohan ! " 



J3? THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

A sharp expression of scorn and semi-delirium passed over 
Rohan's face. 

" It is not God I ask," he answered in a hollow voice, " not 
God, but her ! None can help me now if she cannot. Look 
you, I have prayed here again and again. I have torn my 
heart out in prayer against the Emperor — in curses on his 
head, that she may hunt him down." Suddenly turning to 
the altar, and stretching out his hands, he cried, " Mother of 
God, hear me ! Mother of Hate, listen ! Within a year, 
within a year ! " 

A new access of passion possessed him ; his face flashed 
white as death, and he seemed about to cast himself again on 
the stones before the altar. But Master Arfoll stretched out 
his hands again, and touched him gently on the shoulder. 

" Let us sit down and talk together," he said softly. 
" There is news. I have bread in my wallet and a little red 
wine ; — let us eat and drink together as in old times, and you 
shall hear all I know." 

Something in the manner of the speaker subdued and 
soothed Rohan, who suffered himself to be led across the 
Chapel to the stone seat close to the door. Here the two 
men sat down side by side. By this time the Chapel had 
grown quite dark, but, although the wind blew more furiously 
than ever, the rain had almost ceased to fall. Little by little, 
the excitement of Rohan was subdued. Gently pressed to 
eat, he did so automatically, and it was evident that he was 
sadly in need of sustenance. Then Master Arfoll drew forth 
a leathern bottle, which had been filled with wine that morn- 
ing by a farmer's wife whose children he had been teaching. 
Rohan drank, and his pale cheek kindled ; but by this time 
all his passion had departed, and he was docile as a child. 

Gradually Master Arfoll elicited from him many particulars 
of his position. After several days passed in the open plains 
and among the great salt marshes, he had at last returned 
again to the Cave of St. Gildas:, whence, in a sort of delirium, 
he had issued that day to pray, :>r rather to curse, in the 
Chapel of Hate. 



"A CHAPEL OF HATE." 329 

" If they should return to seek me," he said, " I have dis- 
covered a way. The Cave has an outlet which they will 
never find, and which I only learned by chance." 

He paused a moment ; then in answer to Master Arfoll's 
questioning look, he proceeded : 

" You know the great Cave ? Ah, no ; but it is vast, like 
the Cathedral at St. Emlett, and no man except myself has 
ever searched it through. After I had killed Pipriac I re- 
turned, for all other places were dangerous ; and as I entered 
Pipriac stood before me as if in life, with his great wounds 
bleeding, and his eyes looking at me. That was only for 
a moment, then he was gone ; but he came to me again 
and again till I was sick with fear. Master Arfoll, it is 
terrible to have shed blood, and old Pipriac was a good 
fellow, after all — besides, he was my father's friend, and that 
is worse. Mother of God, what a death ! I think of it 
always, and it gives me no peace ! " 

As he spoke, his former manner returned, and he shivered 
through and through as if with violent cold; but the touch 
of Master Arfoll's hand again calmed him, and he pro- 
ceeded : 

" Well, at last, one night, when there was black storm, I 
could bear it no longer, and I struck a light with flint and 
steel, and I lit my torch, and to pass away the hours I began 
measuring round and round the walls with my feet, counting 
the paces. It was then I discovered, in the far darkness of 
the great Cave, a hole through which a man might crawl, a 
hole like a black stain ; one might search for days and not 
find it out. I crawled through on hands and knees, and a 
little way in I found another Cave, nearly as large as the first. 
Then I thought, ' Let them come when they like, I shall be safe ; 
I can crawl in here.' That was not all, for I soon found that 
the cliffs were hollowed out like a great honeycomb, and 
whichever way I searched there were stone passages winding 
into the heart of the earth." 

"It is the same along there at La Vilaine," said Master 
Arfoll ; " the entrances are known, but no men have searched 



330 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the caverns through, for they believe them haunted. Some 
say the Romans made them long ago. But who can tell ? " 

Rohan did not reply, but seemed to have fallen again into 
a sort of waking trance. At last he looked up, and pointing 
at the window of the Chapel, said quietly : 

" See, the rain is over, and the moon is up." 

The rain had indeed ceased, and through the cloudy rack 
above a stormy moon was rising and pouring her vitreous 
rays on a raging surf of cloud. The wind, so far from abating, 
roared more wildly than ever, and the face of heaven was as 
a human face convulsed with torturing passion and illumed by 
its own mad light. 

Master Arfoll gazed upwards for some moments in silence ; 
then he said quietly : 

" And now, what will you do ? Ah, that I could help you ! 
but I am so feeble and so poor. Have you no other friend ? " 

"Yes, one — Jan Goron. But for him I should have died.'' 

" God reward him ! " 

" Three times since Pipriac died Jan has hidden food 
under the dolmen in the Field of the Festival ; and my 
mother has made torches of tallow and pitch, that I might 
not go mad in the dark ; and besides these I have a lantern 
and oil. Jan hides them and I find them, under the dol- 
men." 

Master Arfoll again took the outcast's hands between his 
own, and pressed them affectionately. 

" God has given you great courage, and where another 
man's heart would have broken, you have lived. Have 
courage still, my poor Rohan — there is hope yet. Do you 
know, there has been a great battle, and the Emperor has 
lost." 

That one word " Emperor " seemed enough to conjure up 
all the madness in Rohan's brain. He rose to his feet, 
reaching out his arms to the altar of the chapel, while Master 
Arfoll continued — 

" There are wild sayings afloat. Some say the Emperor is a 
prisoner in Germany, others that he has tried to kill himself ; 



"A CHAPEL OF HATE." 331 

but all say, and it is certain, that he has been beaten as he 
was never beaten before, and that he is in full retreat. The 
world has arisen against him at last." 

An hour later the two men stood together at the Chapel 
door. 

" I shall visit your uncle's house," said the itinerant, 
"and I shall see your cousin Marcelle. Shall I give her 
any message ? " 

Rohan trembled, but answered quietly : 

" Tell her to comfort my mother — she has no one else left 
in the world." 

Then the men embraced, and Master Arfoll walked away 
into the night. For a space Rohan stood in the chapel 
entrance, watching the figure until it disappeared ; then, 
throwing up his arms with a bitter cry, he too fled from the 
place, like a man flying from some evil thing. 



CHAPTER XL 



INTRODUCES A SCARECROW OF GLORY. 




P ARLY the next day, as the Derval household 
were assembled at their morning meal, Master 
Arfoll entered the quaint old kitchen, and with 
the quiet salutation of the country — " God save 
all here ! " — took his seat uninvited by the fire. 
The Corporal nodded his head coldly, Alain and Jannick 
smiled, and the women murmured the customary "welcome ;" 
but an awkward silence followed, and it was clear that the 
entrance of Master Arfoll caused a certain constraint. 
Indeed, the Corporal had just been engaged, spectacles on 
nose, in deciphering aloud a bulletin from the seat of war — 
one of those fanciful documents on which Bonaparte was 
accustomed to expend all the splendour of a mendacious ima- 
gination. But even Bonaparte, on this occasion, was unable 
to concoct a narrative totally misleading as to the true state 
of the situation. Amid all his pomp of sounding words, and 
all his flourish of misleading falsehoods, there peeped out 
the skeleton fact that the imperial army had been terribly and 
almost conclusively beaten, and that it had been compelled to 
give up all its dreams of conquest, and to retreat ("con- 
fusedly," as old stage directions have it) back to the frontier. 
Now, the Corporal was no fool, and in reality his heart 
was very sore for the sake of his favourite ; but he was not 



INTRODUCES A SCARECROW OF GLORY. 333 

the man to admit the fact to unsympathetic outsiders. So 
when Master Arfoll entered he became silent, and stumping 
over to the fireside, began to fill his pipe. 

" You have news, I see," said the itinerant, after a long 
pause. "Is it true, then, Corporal Derval?" 

The Corporal scowled down from his height of six feet, 
demanding — 

" Is what true, Master Arfoll ? " 

"About the great battle, and the retreat. Is not the Em- 
peror still marching on France, as they say ?" 

The Corporal gave a fierce snort, and crammed the tobacco 
down savagely in the bowl of his pipe. 

" As they say?" he repeated, contemptuously. " As the 
geese say, Master Arfoll ! Ah ! if you were an old soldier, 
and if you knew the Emperor as I know him, you would not 
talk about retreating. Soul of a crow, does a spider ' retreat ' 
into his hole when he is trying to coax the flies ? Does a 
hawk 'retreat' into the sky when he is looking out for 
sparrows ? I will tell you this, Master Arfoll : when the Little 
Corporal plays at ' retreating,' his enemies may keep their 
eyes open like the owls ; for just as they are laughing and 
running after him, as they think, up he will pop in their midst 
and at their backs, ready to eat them up ! " 

The itinerant saw how the land lay, and offered no contra- 
diction ; only he said after a little, looking at the fire : 
- " Before Leipsic it was terrible. Is it not true that fifty 
thousand Frenchmen fell ?" 

The Corporal had now lighted his pipe, and was puffing 
furiously. Master Arfoll's quiet questions irritated him, and 
he glared round at his nephews, and down at the visitor, with 
a face as red as the bowl of his own pipe. 

" I do not know," he replied, " and I do not care. You are 
a scholar, Master Arfoll, and you know a good deal of books, 
but I will tell you frankly, you do not understand war. A 
great general does not count these things ; fifty men killed or 
fifty thousand, it is all the same ; he may lose twice as many 
men as the enemy, and yet he may have, won the victory for 



334 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

all that. Fifty thousand men, bah ! If it were twice fifty 
thousand it would be all the same. Go to ! the Emperor 
knows what he is about." 

" But your own nephews," said Master Arfoll, " they, at 
least, are safe ? '' 

The Corporal cast an uneasy glance at the widow, who had 
lifted her white face eagerly at Master Arfoll's words, then he 
smiled grimly. 

" Good lads, good lads ! — yes ; when we last heard from 
them they were safe and well. Gildas wrote for both ; as you 
know, he writes a brave hand, and he was in high spirits, I 
can tell you. He had a little scratch, and was nursed at the 
hospital for a month, but he was soon all right again, and 
merry as a cricket. Ah ! it is a brave life, he says : plenty 
to eat and drink, and money to spend ; that is the way, too, 
one sees the world." 

" Were your nephews in the great battle, Corporal 
Derval ? " 

With another uneasy glance at the widow, the Corporal 
snorted a reply : 

" I do not know ; powers of heaven, I cannot tell, for we 
have not heard since ; but this I know, Master Arfoll, 
wherever the Emperor pointed with his finger, and said to 
them ' Go,' Hoel and Gildas were there." 

" Then you are not sure that they survive ? " said Master 
Arfoll, sinking his voice. 

The white face of the widow was uplifted again, and the 
Corporal's voice trembled as he replied : 

" They are in God's hands, and God will preserve them. 
They are doing their duty like brave men in a glorious ser- 
vice, and He will not desert them ; and of this I am sure, — 
that we shall hear from them soon." 

[But ah, my Corporal, what of the fifty thousand who fell 
on Leipsic field ? Were they all in God's hands too, and did 
He desert them ? Each hearth for its own ; and from fifty 
thousand went up a prayer, and from fifty thousand the same 
fond cry, " We shall hear from them soon ! "] 



INTRODUCES A SCARECROW OF GLORY. 335 

As the Corporal ceased to speak, the company became 
conscious of the figure of a man, which had entered quietly 
at the open door, and now stood regarding them. A pitiful 
object, indeed, and grim as pitiful ! His face was dirty and 
unshaven, and round his head was twisted a coloured hand- 
kerchief instead of hat or cap. A ragged great-coat reached 
to his knees ; beneath it dangled ragged ends of trousers ; 
the feet were bare, and one was wrapped up in a bloody 
handkerchief. He leant upon a stick, surveying the circle, 
and on his face there was an expression of rakish wretched- 
ness, such as might be remarked in a very old jackdaw in the 
last stage of moulting and uncleanliness. 

" God save all here ! " he said in a shrill voice. 

" Welcome, good man ! " said the Corporal, motioning the 
mendicant — for such he seemed — to a seat by the fire. 

The new comer did not stir, but, leaning on his staff, 
wagged his head from side to side with a diabolical grin at 
Marcelle, and then winked frightfully at Alain and Jannick. 

The widow sprang up with a scream. 

" Mother of God, it is Gildas ! " 

All started in amazement : the boys from their seats at the 
table, Marcelle from her spinning-wheel, while the Corporal 
dropped his pipe and gazed. In another moment Mother 
Derval had embraced the apparition, and was crying over 
him, and kissing his hands. 

It was, indeed, Gildas Derval — but so worn, and torn, and 
stained with travel, so begrimed with dust of the road, and so 
burnt and blistered with the sun, that only his great height 
made him recognisable. His face was covered with a sprout- 
ing beard, and over his right eye he had a hideous scar. A 
more disreputable scarecrow never stood in a green field, or 
darkened a respectable door. 

Before another word could be said the mother screamed 
again. 

" Mother of God, he has lost an arm ! " 

It was but too true. From the soldier's left side dangled 
an empty ragged sleeve. There was another wail from the 



336 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

mother, but Gildas only laughed and nodded knowingly at 
his uncle. Then Marcelle came up and embraced him ; then 
Jannick and Alain ; and, finally, the Corporal, with flaming 
face and kindling eye, slapped Gildas on the back, wrung 
him by the hand, and kissed him on both cheek:;. 

The poor mother, fluttering like some poor bird about her 
young, was the first to think of the fledgling who was far 
away. When Gildas was ensconced in the great chair, with 
Mother Derval kneeling at his feet, and resting her arms on 
his knees, while Marcelle was hanging over him and kissing 
him again, came the question, — 

" And Hoel ? where have you left Hoel ? " 

Gildas stretched out his great hand and patted his mother 
on the head. In every gesture of the man there was a swag- 
gering patronage quite different to his former stolid manner, 
and he was obviously on the best terms with himself and with 
the world. 

" Hoel is all right, mother, and sends his love. Ah, he has 
never had a scratch, while I, look you, have had my old 
luck." Turning to Master Arfoll, who still sat in the ingle, 
he continued, " You see I am invalided, worse luck, just as 
the fun is beginning. A bullet wound, uncle, and they thought 
at first I should not be maimed ; but when I was lying in the 
hospital, well content, in comes the surgeon-major with his 
saw — grrr ! " (Here he ground his teeth to imitate the instru- 
ment at work) — "and before I could squeal, off it came, and 
left me as you see 1 " 

As he spoke, his mother trembled, half fainting, and the 
boys looked at him in admiration. The Corporal nodded his 
head approvingly, as much as to say, "Good ! this is a small 
matter ; but the boy has come through it well." 

" Where did you get your wound ? " asked Master Arfoll. 

"Before Dresden," replied the soldier, "on the second day; 
then I was carried in the ambulance to Leipsic ; and when 
I was strong, I received my discharge. I had a govern- 
ment pass as far as Nantes, and plenty of good company ; 
after that, I and a comrade tramped to St. Gurlott, where we 



/NTRODUCES A SCARECROW OF GLOR}. 337 

parted, and I came home. Well, here I am at home, and that's 
the way of the world — ups and downs, ups and downs ! " 

By this time the Corporal had brought out a bottle, and 
was filling out little glasses of corn brandy. 

" Drink, mon garz / " he said. 

Gildas tipped off his glass, and then held it out to be re- 
filled, while the mother, with many sighs and ejaculations to 
herself, was furtively taking stock of his dilapidated attire. 
When her eyes fell upon his bandaged foot, she wept, quietly 
drying her eyes with her apron. 

" It is not bad stuff," said the hero. " To you all !" 

He tossed off the fiery fluid without winking ; then looking 
up at Marcelle, who was still bending over him, he said 
roguishly, with the air of a veteran — 

" I will tell you this, little one. The German girls are like 
their own hogsheads, and I have not seen as pretty a face as 
yours since I left France. They are greedy, too, these fat 
frauleins, and will rob a soldier of his skin." 

Marcelle stooped down and whispered a question in his 
ear ; whereat he smiled and nodded, and quietly opening the 
breast of his shirt, showed her, still hanging by a ribbon round 
his neck, one of the medals she had dipped before his de- 
parture in the Pool of the Blood of Christ. Marcelle kissed 
him again, and raised her eyes to heaven, confident now that 
her charm had wrought his preservation. 

Unwilling to intrude longer on the family circle, Master 
Arfoll vose, and again felicitating Gildas on his safe return, 
took his departure. Left to themselves, the excited family 
eagerly surrounded the hero, and plied him with question after 
question, all of which he answered rather by imagination than 
by strict matter of fact. Scarecrow as he was, he was sur- 
rounded in their eyes by a halo of military glory, and by his 
side even the Corporal, with his stale associations, seemed 
insignificant. Indeed, he patronised his uncle like the rest, 
in a style worthy of an old veteran : and, brimful of his new 
and raw experience, quietly pooh-poohed the other's old- 
fasKoned opinions. 



338 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" And you have seen the Emperor, mon garz t " said the 
Corporal. "You have seen him with your own eyes ? " 

Gildas nodded his " I believe you," and then said, with his 
head cocked on one side, in his uncle's own fashion — 

" I saw him last at Dresden. It was raining cats and dogs, 
and the little man was like a drowned rat ; his grey coat 
soaked, and his hat drawn over his eyes, and running like a 
spout. Diablel how he galloped about— you would have 
said it was an old woman on horseback, riding straddle-legged 
to market. He may be a great general, I admit," added the 
irreverent novice, " but he does not know how to ride." 

" Not know how to ride ! the Emperor ! " ejaculated the 
Corporal, aghast. In his days such criticism would have 
been treated as blasphemy ; but now, when misfortunes were 
beginning, the rawest recruit passed judgment on his leader. 

" He sits hunched up in a lump — like this," said Gildas, 
suiting the action to the word, " and no rascally recruit from 
the Vosges is more shabby. You would not say he was the 
Emperor at all, but a beggar who had stolen a horse to ride 
on. Ah, if you want something like a general to look at, you 
should see Marshal Ney." 

"Marshal Ney !" echoed the Corporal with a contemptuous 
snort. 

" He dresses himself for battle as if he were going to a ball, 
and his hair is all oiled and perfumed, and he has rings on 
his fingers, and his horse is all silver and gold and crimson 
like himself. And then, if you please, he can ride like an 
angel ! His horse obeys him like a pretty partner, and he 
whirls and curvets and dances till jour eyes are dazzled." 

" Bah ! " cried the Corporal. " The great doll 1 " 

It is just possible that the veteran and his nephew might 
have come to words on the subject of their favourites ; only 
just then the mother brought warm water to bathe the soldier's 
sore feet, and, with a look at her brother-in-law to deprecate 
further argument, knelt down and unrolled the bandage from 
the foot that was cut and lame. With many loving murmurs 
she then bathed the feet, and anointed them with sweet oil. 



INTRODUCES A SCARECROW OF GLORY, 339 

while Marcelle prepared clean linen for Gildas to wear. 
" To-morrow," thought the widow, " little Plouet shall come 
in to trim his hair and shave his beard, and then he will look 
my own handsome boy again." Plouet was an individual 
who to his other avocations added the duties of village barber, 
and wielded the razor, to use the popular expression, " like 
an angel." 

Happy is he, however lowly, to whom loving hands minister, 
and who has such a home to receive and shelter him in his 
hour of need ! Gildas might complain of his bad luck, but 
in his heart he knew that he was a fortunate fellow. From 
a stranger's point of view, just then, he was certainly as dis- 
reputable a looking object as could be found in a day's march. 
Long before the widow had dried his aching feet, he had 
collapsed in his chair, and was snoring lustily. With his 
chin sunk deep into his great-coat, his matted hair escaping 
from the coloured handkerchief which covered his head, his 
empty sleeve dangling, and his two ragged legs outstretching, 
he looked more and more a scarecrow, more and more cap- 
able of frightening off the small birds of his village from the 
paths of glory. But to the trembling mother he was beauti- 
ful, and her heart yearned out to him with unutterable pity 
and affection. He had come back to her in life, though 
sadly marred, and, like Bottom, " marvellously transformed ; " 
but he had paid his contribution to glory, and, come wJ»at 
might, he could never go to war again. 




CHAPTER XLI. 

GLIMPSES OF A DEAD WORLD. 

[OH AN Gwenfern needed to have had little ap 
prehension that fresh search would be made 
for him in the Cave of St. Gildas. After once 
searching the Cave, and finding it empty, the 
gendarmes were glad of any pretext to keep 
away : not that they were actually afraid, or that they would 
have hesitated to raise the siege anew, but the death of 
Pipriac, occurring as it did, had filled them with a super- 
stitious dread. 

For some days after Pipriac's death vigorous exertions were 
made to discover the whereabouts of his murderer ; but al- 
though the gendarmes were more than once upon his track, and 
although he had come into personal collision with Mikel Gral- 
lon, all the pursuit was unavailing. The authorities at St. 
Gurlott stormed ; a fresh reward was offered i» well-posted 
placards ; but Rohan still remained at large. And before 
many days had elapsed, his very existence seemed forgotten 
in the excitement of the news from the seat of war. 

In vain was it for Corporal Derval and others of his way 
of thinking to hold forth in the street and by the fireside, and 
to prove that the sun of Bonaparte was not setting but actually 
rising. In vain was it for the " scarecrow of glory," trimmed 
by the barber, and made sweet by clean linen, to hold fortlr 



GLIMPSES OF A DEAD WORLD. 341 

in the cabaret that all would be well so long as the Emperor 
had " Marshel Ney " at his right hand. In vain did the lying 
bulletins come in from Paris to St. Gurlott, and from St. 
Gurlott to its tributary villages. A very general impression 
was abroad that things were in a bad way. The loyalist 
party in Kromlaix began to look at each other and to smih 
From the little upper chamber in the Corporal's dwelling 
still went up a virgin's prayers for the great Emperor, mingled 
with more passionate prayers for Rohan Gwenfern. Mar- 
celle could not, or would not, understand that the Emperor 
was the cause of her lover's misfortunes ; no, he was too great, 
too good, and — ah ! if one could only reach his ear ! He 
loved his people well ; he had given her uncle the Cross, and 
all men knew he had a tender heart. How could he know 
what wicked men did in his name ? If she could only go to 
him, and fall at his feet, and ask for her lover's life ! Alas, 
how rash and foolish Rohan had been.! It was wicked foi 
him to refuse to help the Emperor ; but then he had not been 
himself, he had been mad. And here was the end ! — here 
was Gildas come back covered with glory and alive and well, 
while Rohan was still a hunted man, with Pipriac's blood up- 
on his head. If Rohan had only been brave like ner brother, 
God would have brought him back. 

While Marcelle was pleading and praying, Rohan Gwen- 
fern was moving like a sleepless spirit through the darkness 
of the earth. Was it broad awake, or in a wondrous dream, 
that he crept through sunless caverns, torch in hand, explor- 
ing night and day? It did not seem real, and he himself did 
not feel real. Phantoms troubled him, voices cried in his 
ears, cold hands touched him, and again and again the ghost 
of Pipriac uprose before him with rebuking eyes. 

It was all real, nevertheless. The discovery of the 
mysterious inlet from the Cave of St. Gildas led to a series of 
discoveries no less remarkable. He had not exaggerated 
when he had asserted to Master Arfoll that the cliffs were 
veritably "honeycombed." 



342 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

In sheer despair, to keep his thoughts from driving him 
completely mad, he prosecuted his lonely search. From the 
great inner cave which he had by accident discovered, ran 
numerous narrow passages, some far too small to admit a 
human body, others high and vaulted. Most of these pas- 
sages, after winding for greater or less distances into the solid 
cliff, terminated in culs de sac. After minute examination he 
discovered one which did not so terminate, but which, after 
extending for a long distance parallel with the face of the 
cliff, and gradually ascending upward, ended in a small cave 
well lighted by a narrow chink in the cliff. From this chink, 
which was like a window in the very centre of the most inac- 
cessible and perpendicular crag on the coast, he could see the 
ocean for miles around him, the fishing vessels coming from 
and going to the beach of the village, and, higher still, a 
glimpse of the lower extremity of the village itself, quite a 
mile away. Beneath him there was no beach, only the sea 
washing at all sides on the base of the cliff, and creeping 
here and there into the gloomy water-caverns which the 
superstitious fishermen never ventured to explore. 

With a strange sense of freedom and exultation he dis- 
covered this new hiding-place, the aperture of which, to any 
one sailing on the sea below, would have seemed like a mere 
dark stain on the crag's face. Here he soon made his head- 
quarters, free to enjoy the light of sun and moon. Inaccessi- 
ble as an eagle in its eyrie, he could here draw the breath of 
life in peace. 

A day or so later he ascertained that this cave communi- 
cated by a precipitous passage with the sea below. Not 
without considerable danger he descended through the dark- 
ness, and, after feeling his way cautiously for hours, he found 
himself standing on a narrow shelf of slippery rock in the 
very heart of a great water-cave. 

Vast crimson columns, hung with many coloured weeds and 
mosses, supported a vaulted roof which distilled a perpetual 
glisten'""' ^w and shook it down on the deep waters beneath, 
which were clear as crystal and green as malachite. A faint 



GLIMPSES OF A DEAD WORLD. 343 

phosphorescent light, which seemed to issue from the water 
itself, but stole in imperceptibly from the distant mouth of 
the cave, showed purple flowers and flags stirring gently far 
below, and strange living creatures that moved upon a bottom 
of shining sand. 

As Rohan stood looking downward, a large female seal, 
splashing down from a shelf of rock, began swimming round 
and round the cavern without any effort to escape ; and 
Rohan, listening, could hear the bleat of its tiny lamb coming 
from the darkness. After a minute it disappeared, and the 
faint bleat ceased. 

A little reflection showed Rohan where he stood. Quite a 
hundred yards away was the mouth of the cavern — a space 
some twelve feet broad but only a few high, and so hung with 
moss and fungi as to be almost concealed. Around this 
mouth the sea was many fathoms deep, and a boiling current 
eddied for ever at all states of the tide. Rohan remembered 
well how often he had rowed past, and how his fellow-fisher- 
men had told awful legends of foolhardy mortals who, in times 
remote, had tried to enter " Hell's Mouth," as they called it, 
and how no boat that sailed through was ever known to re- 
turn. Certain it was that at times there issued thence terrific 
volumes of raging water, accompanied by sounds as of inter- 
nal earthquake, which served to make the place terrible even 
without the aid of superstition. Later on the causes of these 
phenomena will be sufficiently apparent. 

There is something awful to a sensitive mind in coming by 
accident on any strange secret of Nature, in penetrating un- 
aware to some solemn arcanum of the Mother-goddess where 
never human foot before has trod, and where the twilight of 
primaeval mystery lingers for ever. Even in those solemn 
caves of the sea which are safely accessible to man there is 
something still and terrible beyond measure. In no churches 
do we pause half so reverently, in no shrines are we so 
strangely constrained to pray. To the present writer these 
natural temples are familiar, and he has spent within them 
his most religious hours. 



344 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

To Rohan Gwenfern, who had crouched so long in darkness, 
and who had suffered so dark a persecution from all the 
forces of the world without, it suddenly seemed as if Nature, 
in a mystery of new love and pity, had taken him to her very 
heart ; had touched his lids with a new balm, his soul with a 
new peace, and, folding him softly in her arms, had revealed 
to him a faery vision of her own soul's calm — a divine glimpse 
of that 

" Central peace subsiding at the heart 
Of endless agitation," 

which so few men that live are permitted to feel and enjoy. 
He could not have expressed his happiness in aesthetic 
phrases, but he had it none the less ; and by those new dis- 
coveries his soul was greatly strengthened. Up there in the 
aerial cave he could bask in the sunlight without fear ; and 
down here, in a silent water-world, he could spend many 
wondering hours. 

A stranger discovery was yet to come. He had found the 
key to a mystery, and it opened many doors. 

Along the sides of the water-cavern ran a narrow ledge, 
communicating with that on which he had first descended ; 
although it was slippery as glass, it afforded a footing for 
Rohan's naked feet. Creeping along this ledge for some 
thirty yards, and clinging to the crimson columns for partial 
support, he reached the extreme inner end of the cave and 
leaped down upon a narrow space of steep shingle, against 
which the still, green water washed. He had no sooner done 
so than he discovered, to his astonishment, a vaulted opening, 
gleaming with stalactite and crimson moss, leading appar- 
ently into the heart of the cliffs. It was very dark. After 
groping his way stealthily forward till all light faded, he re- 
traced his steps. 

His curiosity was now thoroughly aroused. Returning to 
his aerial hiding-place, he procured a rude horn lantern with 
which Jan Goron had supplied him, lit it carefully, and then 



GLIMPSES OF A DEAD WORLD. 345 

agaTn descended. Finally, lantern in hand, he again entered 
the dark passage, determined to explore it to its furthest 
limits. 

It was just so broad that he could touch both walls with 
the tips of the fingers of his outstretched hand ; so high that, 
standing on tiptoe, with the tips of his fingers he could touch 
the roof. It seemed of solid stone, and fashioned as symme- 
trically as if by human hands. Wherever the light fell the 
walls glimmered smooth and moist, without any trace of 
vegetation. The air was damp and icy cold, like the air of 
a sepulchre, but it did not seem otherwise impure. 

He had crept forward some hundred yards or more, when 
he came to an ascending flight of stone steps. Yes, his eyes 
did not deceive him : red granite steps, carefully and labori- 
ously hewn. His heart gave a great leap, for now he knew 
for certain, what he had indeed suspected from the first, that 
the excavations were not natural, but had been wrought by- 
human hands. 

Simple as this fact may appear, it filled him with a kind of 
terror, and he almost turned to retrace his way. Recovering 
himself, however, he ascended the steps, and entered, at their 
top, another passage, which bore unmistakably the signs of 
human workmanship. 

After he had proceeded another hundred yards he came to 
another ascent of steps, and, after ascending these, to another 
passage. The air now became suffocating and oppressive, 
and the light in the lantern grew faint almost to dying. 
Crawling forward, however, he emerged in a space so vast 
and so forbidding that he stood trembling in consternation 
— a mighty Vault or Catacomb compared to which all the 
other caverns he had explored were insignificant. Vast walls 
of granite supported a roof high as the roof of a cathedral, 
from which depended black fungi bred of perpetual moisture 
and dripping an eternal dew. The interior was wrapped in 
pitch darkness, and full of a murmur as of the sea. The floor 
was solid black stone, polished to icy smoothness, but cov- 
ered by a slippery sort of moss. 



246 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Rohan stood in awe, half-expecting to see appalling phan- 
toms start from the darkness and drive him forth. Into 
what place of mystery had he penetrated ? Into what cata- 
comb of the dead ? Into what ghostly abode of spirits ? His 
head swam ; for a moment his customary seizure came, and 
he heard and saw nothing. Then he crept cautiously forward 
into the cavern. 

As he moved, the sea-like murmur grew deeper, seeming 
to come from the very ground beneath his feet. He drew 
back listening, — and just in time ; for he was standing on 
the very edge of a black gulf, at the foot of which a moaning 
water ran. He peered over, flashing the light down. A 
black liquid glimmer came from beneath, from water in 
motion, rapidly rushing past. 

He then perceived that the gulf and its contents-occupied 
the entire interior of the great vault, and that the floor on 
which he stood was merely a narrow shelf artificially fash- 
ioned. The vast columns rose on every side of him, glitter- 
ing with silvern damp, and the curtain of fungi stirred over- 
head like a black pall. 

Suddenly, as he flashed his light over the place, he started 
aghast. Not far away stood another figure, on the edge of 
the gulf, looking down. 

Rohan was superstitious by nature, and his mind had been 
unsettled by his privations. He stood terror-stricken, and 
the lanthorn almost fell from his hands. Meantime the figure 
did not stir. 




CHAPTER XLII. 

THE AQUEDUCT. 

P AGER to satisfy himself, Rohan drew nearer, 
and at last recognised, in the shape which he 
had at first deemed human or ghostly, a 
gigantic Statue of black marble set on a 
pedestal on the very edge of the chasm. 
Lifeless as it was, the Shape was terrible. It had stood 
there for centuries, and the perpetual drops distilling from 
the roof above had eaten into its solid mass, so that part of 
the face was destroyed and portions of the body had melted 
away. Its lower limbs were completely enwrapped in a 
loathsome green vegetation, crawling up, as it seemed, out 
of the water beneath. In size it was colossal, and standing 
close beside it Rohan seemed a pigmy. 

Little by little Rohan discerned that it had represented an 
imperial figure, clad in the Roman toga, bareheaded, but 
crowned with bay. Though the face was mutilated, the 
contour of the neck and head remained, and recalled the 
bull-like busts of Roman emperors and conquerors which 
may be seen on ancient medals, engravings of which Rohan 
had noticed in the French translation of Tacitus given him 
by Master Arfoll. In a moment the mind of Rohan was 
illuminated. He recalled all the popular traditions con- 
cerning the Roman towns submerged under Kromlaix. He 
remembered the strange pictures conjured up by Master 



348 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Arfoll— of the houses of marble and temples of gold, the great 
baths and theatres, the statues of the gods. Then, it was 
all true ! Not far away, perhaps, the City itself glim- 
mered, and this was a first glimpse of its dead world. 

But this water, flowing so murmurously through the cave, 
whence did it come, and whither did it go ? He was still 
speculating when he perceived close to the Statue's pedestal 
a broad flight of steps leading downward. They were 
slippery with green slime, but with extreme care one could 
descend. 

He crawled down cautiously, feeling his way foot by foot 
and stair by stair ; and at last he ascertained that the steps 
descended into the very water itself, which rushed past his 
feet with a cry like a falling torrent, but black as jet. He 
reached out his hand, lifted some of the water to his- lips and 
found that it was quite fresh, with the flavour of newly-fallen 
rain. 

Then, for the first time, he remembered the subterranean 
River, about which superstition was so garrulous, and above 
the buried bed of which Kromlaix was said to be built. All 
the memories of mysterious sounds heard in times of storm 
came back upon his brain ; and he remembered how often, 
down in the village, he had pressed his ear against the earth 
and listened for the murmur of the River far below. The 
dark waters on which he was now gazing were doubtless a 
tributary stream, if not the very river itself ; and were he 
to launch himself upon them, he would come perchance to 
the doomed ruins of the City. It was all real, then ; yet so 
strange, so like a wonderful dream ! 

Returning to his aerial chamber on the face of the great 
cliff, Rohan sat and brooded in a new wonder. He was like 
a man who had been down into the grave and had interviewed 
the dead, and had brought with him strange secrets of the sunless 
world. His discovery of the great Roman vault, with its dark 
passages communicating with the sea, came upon him with 
a stupefying surprise. And even as he sat he thought of that 



THE AQUEDUCT. 349 

black Statue, standing like a living thing in its place, the 
emblem of a world that had passed away. 

He, too, whoever he was, had lived and reigned, as the 
Emperor was then reigning ; he too, perhaps, robed in purple 
and filleted with bay, had "bestrode the world like a Colossus," 
and urged a bloody generation on. Temples and coliseums, 
baths of precious marble and amphitheatres adorned with 
gold, had arisen at his bidding ; at the lifting of his finger 
victories had been won and lands been lost ; and ere his death 
mortals had hailed him as a god. That statue of him had 
been set there by his slaves, and other statues of him had 
been set elsewhere in street and mart, that men might know 
the glory of his name, and cry, " Hail, O Caesar, we who are 
about to die salute thee ! " And the Statue stood there still 
in its place, buried from the light of the sun, but of his foot- 
prints in the world there was no sign. 

For two days the burthen of his discovery was so heavy 
upon him that Rohan did not dare to return to the mysteri- 
6us Vault. He sat listening to the wind, whose fierce wings 
flapped with iron clang against the face of the cliff, and 
gazing out upon the white and troubled sea. For some time 
there had been heavy rain, and it was still falling, falling. 

The morning of the third day broke dark and peaceful ; 
rain still fell, but there was no wind, and the sea was calm 
as glass. Gazing from the window of his cave, Rohan saw 
the still waters, stained with purple shadows, and broken 
here and there by outlying reefs, stretching smooth and still 
as far as Kromlaix ; and the red fishing boats crawling this 
way and that among the reefs, and here and there a great 
raft drifting between the reefs and the shore. For it was 
close upon the season for gathering the sea-wrack, or go'emofi, 
a harvest which takes place twice a year; and the produce of 
which is used for fuel as well as for manuring the land. 
Rafts are made of old planks and barrels, rudely lashed to- 
gether, piled high with the wrack gathered from the weedy 
reefs, and suffered to drift to shore before the wind or with 
the tid©- 



35<> THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

There was companionship, at least, in watching others at 
the work he knew so well. How often had not Rohan lashed 
his raft together, and piloted himself along the rocky coast 
— not without many a swim in the deep sea, when his raft 
was too much ladened and had overturned. 

He sat looking on for hours. As the day advanced, how- 
ever, great banks of cloud drifted up from thfe south, and a 
black vapour crawling in from the sea covered the crags, and 
entirely obscured the prospect in every direction. There was 
a dreary and oppressive silence, broken only by the heavy 
falling of a leaden rain. The air seemed full of a nameless 
trouble, like that which precedes a thunderstorm and shakes 
the forest leaves without a breath. 

As the afternoon advanced, the rain fell more heavily, but 
the mists did not rise. Weary and dreary, Rohan prepared 
his lantern and determined again to visit the mysterious 
Vault. By this time, he had almost ceased to realize his own 
discovery ; it seemed more and more a dream, a vision, such 
as those to which his troubles had made him accustomed ; 
and he was quite prepared to find himself in the position of 
the man who, having once found and forsaken a fairy treasure, 
sought in vain to discover it again. 

He descended rapidly to the basaltic water-cave communi- 
cating with the sea, and found it calm, beautiful, and un- 
changed ; then, passing along the rocky ledge to its innermost 
extremity, he leapt down upon the shingle, and stood again 
before the vaulted opening, leading into the heart of the 
cliffs. 

As he entered, there came from within a strange sound 
which he had not previously remarked — a dull, heavy mur- 
mur, as of water struggling and rushing between trembling 
barriers. He hesitated, and listened. He seemed to hear 
strange voices moaning and crying, and another sound like 
the flapping of the great wind against the crag. 

After a few minutes' pause he hurried onward, through the 
clammy passages, up the flights of marble steps, nearer and 
nearer to the Roman vault. As he advanced the murmur 



THE AQUEDUCT. 351 

grew to a roar, and the roar to thunder, until it seemed the 
solid earth was quaking all around him ; and when, trembling 
and shuddering, he entered the great Vault itself, he seemed 
surrounded by all the thunders and ululations of an Inferno. 

The cause of the commotion now became unmistakable. 
The river was tumbling and shrieking in the gulf, and tearing 
at the walls of stone between which it ran. 

He crept forward along the slippery floor, which seemed 
quaking beneath his feet, and approached the Statue of 
stone. It still stood there, colossal and awful, but it was 
trembling in its place like a mortal man quivering with awe ; 
indeed, the whole Vault was quaking as with the throes of 
a sudden earthquake. 

He gazed over the flight of black stairs leading to the 
River, and flashed his light down. In a moment he perceived 
that the water had risen, so that only a few steps remained 
uncovered ; and as it foamed and fretted, and whirled and 
eddied past, boiling and shrieking in its bed, flakes of fierce 
foam were beaten up into his face. 

Rushing he knew not whence, roaring he knew not whither, 
the water filled the gulf, and shook its solid barriers with 
the force that only water possesses. Another look convinced 
him that it was rapidly and tumultuously rising. 

Already it was within a few feet of the base of the Statue, 
and still it was swelling upward with inconceivable rapidity. 
It was as if the tide itself had rushed into the gulf, filling and 
overflooding it. 

The mind of Rohan was well skilled in danger, and per- 
ceived instantaneously the full peril of the situation. To re- 
main where he stood would be to encounter instantaneous death. 
With the thunder of the waters in his ears, the walls of solid 
stone quaking around him, and the ground trembling beneath 
his feet, he turned and fled. 

Not a moment too soon. Down the vaulted passages he 
passed, until he emerged upon the great water-cave far be- 
neath. 

As he touched the narrow space of shingle he heard behind 



352 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

him a horrible concussion, a sound as if the very crags were 
crumbling down together ; then a roar as of many waters 
escaping, as of a great river rushing after him, and coming 
ever nearer and nearer. 

Swift as thought he climbed up on the rocky ledge above 
the water, and made his way to the aperture by which he 
had descended from his aerial cave. Pausing there, and 
clinging to the rocks, he beheld vast volumes of smoke and 
water belching from the passage by which he hadjust escaped ; 
roaring and rushing down tumultuously to mingle with the 
sea, till all the still green waters of the cave, stained brown 
anc" black, were bubbling like a great cauldron at his feet. 




CHAPTER XLIII. 

" THE NIGHT OF THE DEAD." 

T was All Saint's Eve, 1813. 

While Rohan Gwenfern was penetrating, 
torch in hand, into the ghostly Roman Vault 
or Aqueduct, deep-buried in the heart of the 
cliffs, the chapel bells of Kromlaix were ring- 
ing, and crowds were flocking through the darkness to hear the 
priest say mass, a task in which he and his " vicaire " would be 
engaged unceasingly till the coming of dawn. The night was 
dark and still, but the rain was falling heavily, and a black 
curtain covered the sea. Everywhere in the narrow streets of 
Kromlaix were glistening poolsformedby the newly fallen rain, 
and into these the heavy drops plashed incessantly, making 
a dreary murmur. But fainter and deeper than the sound of 
the rain came another sound, like a cry from the earth be- 
neath : a strange far-off murmur, like the distant moaning of 
the sea. 

The doors stood open wide, and in every house the supper- 
table stood spread, with a clean linen cloth, lights, and the 
evening meal ; and around the table stood vacant chairs ; and 
on the hearth there burnt a fire carefully arranged to last till 
dawn. For it was the Night of the Dead ; and after the 
death-bell had been tolled, the dead-mass said, the supper 
eaten, and the household retired to rest, the Souls of the 
Dead would enter in and partake of the solemn feast in the 



354 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

dwellings where they had died, or where their kin abode< 
Then the household would listen, and hear strange wailings 
in the rooms and at the doors ; and then they would rise 
from their beds, fall upon their knees, and pray that, but for 
this one waking night of the year those they loved might 
sleep in peace. 

Not only from the little churchyard on the hill-side, where 
the light was gleaming through the open chapel door, would 
the Souls of the Dead come ; but over the wild wastes inland, 
and down the lonely roads from the far-off towns, and most 
of all, in from the washing waters of the sea. Strange phos- 
phorescent lights were moving already to and fro upon the 
deep. High in the air strange eerie voices were crying. 
From land and sea, from all the places where they slept, the 
Dead were coming back to the homes they loved in life. 

At one o'clock in the morning the moon would be full, and it 
wovldbegrandetner, or high tide. There was no moonlight, and 
in deep windless darkness fell the rain ; but lights flashed in 
all the windows, and a lurid gleam came from the little chapel, 
where Father Rolland and his " vicaire " were performing the 
mass. The living were praying, and ghosts were hovering 
in the black air, when Marcelle Derval, leaving her mother 
behind her in the chapel, came down through the darkness 
with some companions of her own age and sex, and parted 
with them at her uncle's door. 

Entering in she found the kitchen bright and cleanly swept, 
lights upon the table, a great fire on the hearth, and the hero 
of Dresden seated alone in the chimney corner. 

"Are you there, Marcelle?" he cried with a nod, with- 
drawing from his mouth a great wooden pipe which he had 
brought back with him from Germany. " The old one was 
anxious about you, and he has gone up the street to look 
after you. Where is mother, — and the boys?" 

" She is still at chapel, and will not return till it strikes 
twelve." 

" And you ? " 

" I am tired, and I shall go to bed." 



" THE NIGHT OF THE DEAD." 355 

" Supper is ready," said Gildas ; " sit down and eat.'' 

Marcelle shook her head. She looked very pale, and her 
whole mariner betokned bodily or mental fatigue. 

" Good night," she said, kissing Gildas ; then she lit her 
lamp, and went wearily up the stairs. All that day her heart 
had been full of Rohan, and now, when night came, she was 
thinking of him with strange pain. It was the Night of the 
Dead, but she was too young to have much to mourn for, 
and, beyond her two brothers, who had died in battle, had 
known no losses. Nevertheless, the burthen of the time lay 
heavily upon her, and she trembled before the shadow of 
something that did not live. Rohan Gwenfern was her dead, 
lost to her and the world, buried out yonder in the black 
night, as surely as if he no longer breathed at all. While 
others had been praying for their lost, whom the good God 
had stricken, she had been praying for hers, whom God had 
no less surely taken away. With the dead there was peace ; 
for the dead-living there was only pain. So her sorrow was 
the worst to bear. 

With this great agony in her heart she had yearned to be 
alone in her chamber — to think, to pray; and so she had 
come home. The others would soon follow, and, after mid- 
night struck, the room below would be left in silence, that the 
poor ghosts might come in and take their place at the board. 
Ah God ! if he too might come, eating for one night at least 
the blessed bread of peace ! 

Left alone again in the great kitchen, Gildas Derval 
smoked away in his corner, ever and anon giving vent to an 
expression of impatience. The rain still fell without with 
weary and ceaseless sound, and there was a murmuring from 
the black streams pouring down the narrow street. Once or 
twice Gildas arose, and gazed out into the pitch-black night 
— a Night of Death indeed ! 

As the minutes crept on, and the hands of the Dutch clock in 
the corner pointed to half-past eleven, Gildas grew more uneasy. 
The witching hour was close at hand, and the silence was grow- 
ing positively sepulchral. At every sound he smarted, listening 



356 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

intently. Hero as he was, he felt positively afraid, and 
bitterly regretted that he had suffered Marcelle to go to bed. 
"What the devil can detain my uncle?" he muttered 
again and again. 

At last the door opened and the Corporal staggered in, 
wrapped in his old military coat, and dripping from head to 
foot ; his cocked hat, which he wore d /' Empereicr, formed 
a miniature waterspout upon his head. 

" Soul of a crow ! " he cried, " was there ever such a 
night ? Are they not returned ? " 

" Only Marcelle," growled Gildas; "the rest are still at the 
chapel, though it is time all good Christians were abed." 

The Corporal stumped across the room, and remained 
with his back to the fire, his wet clothes steaming as he 
stood. 

" I went up the street to look for them, but seeing they did 
not come, I went to the shore. The tide is up to the foot of 
the street, and it has still some time to flow. They are 
frightened down there, and will not sleep to-night ; but the 
sea is calm as glass." 

As the Corporal ceased to speak Gildas sprang to his feet, 
and simultaneously the house shook to its very foundations 
as if smitten by a sudden squall of wind. 

" What's that ? " cried Gildas, now quite pale, crossing 
himself in his terror. 

" It must be the wind rising," said the Corporal ; but 
when he walked to the door, and threw it open to listen^ 
there was not a breath. 

" It is strange," he said in a low voice coming back to the 
fire. " I have heard it twice before to-night, and one woulr 1 
say the earth was quaking underfoot." 

" Uncle ! " murmured Gildas. 

" Well, mon garz t " 

" If it is the Souls of the Dead ! " 

The old Corporal made a gesture of reverence, and, turn- 
ing his face round, looked at the fire. Several minutes 
passed in uneasy silence. Then suddenly, without warning 



" THE NIGHT OF THE DEAD." 357 

of any kind, the house shook again ! This time it utd not 
seem as it" stricken by wind ; but there came to both Gildas 
and the Corporal that strange unconscious sickening dread 
which is the invariable accompaniment of earthquake. The 
sound, like the sensation, was only momentary, but as it 
ceased, the men looked aghast at one another. 

" It is dreadful," said the Corporal. " Soul of a crow ! 
why does the woman linger ? " 

With a suddenness which startled Gildas and made him 
growl in nervous irritation, the little trap-door of the Dutch 
clock sprang open, and the wooden cuckoo sprang out, utter- 
ing his name twelve times, and proclaiming the hour ! . . . . 
Midnight ! 

The Corporal, full of a nameless uneasiness, could no 
longer restrain himself. 

" It is unaccountable," he exclaimed. "I will go again and 
see." 

Before Gildas could interpose he had wrapped his coat 
once more about him and sallied forth into the night. 
Through the heavy murmuring of the rain and the rushing 
of the waterspouts and streams Gildas could hear the " clop 
clop " of the wooden leg dying up the street ; then all was 
silence. 

Of all situations this was the one Gildas was least fitted 
to face with advantage. He was not deficient in brute 
courage, and in good company he might have faced even a 
visitor from another world ; but his little "campaign" had 
disturbed his nervous system, and that night of all nights in 
the year he did not care to be left alone. And, indeed, a far 
more enlightened being would, under the circumstances, have 
shared his trepidation. The air was full of a sick uncomfort- 
able silence, broken only by the " plopping " and " pinging " 
of the heavy metallic rain, and ever and anon, when the 
house trembled with those mysterious blasts, the effect was 
simply paralytic. 

Gildas stood at the door, looking out into the rain. The 
darkness was complete, but the light from the chamber 

2 A 



35S THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

glistened on a perfect stream of black rain running down the 
street. As he stood there listening, mysterious hands 
seemed outstretched to touch him, cold breaths blew upon 
his cheek, and there was a sound all round him as of the 
wailing dead. Lights burned in the windows down the 
street, and many doors stood open like his own, but there 
was no sign of any human being. 

Re-entering the kitchen, he approached the wooden stairs, 
and called gruffly — 

"Marcelle ! Marcelle 1" 

There was no answer. 

" Marcelle ! are you asleep?" 

The door of the room above opened, and Marcelle's voice 
replied — 

" Is it my uncle ?" 

" No, it is I — Gildas. Are you abed ? " 

" I am undressed, and was half asleep. What is it ?" 

Gildas did not care to confess that he was afraid, and 
wanted company ; so he growled — 

" Oh, it is nothing ! Mother has not come home yet, that 
is all ; but my uncle has gone to look after her. It is rain- 
ing cats and dogs ! " 

" She told me she would not return till midnight, and she 
has the boys. Good-night again, Gildas ! " 

" Good-night ! " muttered the hero of Dresden ; then just 
as the door above was closing he called, " Marcelle ! " 

" Yes." 

" You — you need not close your door — I may want to speak 
to you again." 

" Very well." 

There was silence again, and Gildas returned to the fire- 
side. As he did so the cottage again trembled as before. He 
drew back to the foot of the staircase. 

" Marcelle ! " he cried. 

" Yes," answered the voice, this time obviously from 
between the sheets. 

" Did you hear that ? " 



" THE NIGHT OF THE DEAD." 359 

" The noise ? Ah, yes ; it is only the wind." 

" It is only the Devil," muttered Gildas to himself, and, 
inwardly cursing Marcelle's coolness, he stepped again to the 
street door and looked out. A black wall of rain and dark- 
ness still stared him in the face. He stood for some minutes 
in agitation, with the cold drops splashing into his face. 
There was not a breath of wind, and by listening closely he 
could distinctly hear the murmur of the sea. 

Suddenly his ears were startled by a sound which made 
his heart leap into his mouth and his blood run cold. From 
inland, from the direction of the chapel, there came a 
murmur, a roar, as if the sea lay that way, and was rising in 
storm. Before he could gather his wits together there rose 
far away a sound like a human shriek, and all at once, 
through the dreary moaning of the rain, came the rapid toll- 
ing of a bell. Simultaneously he saw dark figures rushing 
rapidly up the street from the direction of the sea shore. 
Though he called to them they did not reply. 

Yes, there could be no mistake. A bell was tolling faintly 
in the distance ; doubtless the chapel bell itself. Something 
unusual was happening — what, it was impossible to guess. 

Two or three more figures passed rapidly, and he again 
demanded what was the matter. This time a voice answered, 
but only with a frightened cry — " This way, for your life ! " 

Anything was better than to stand there in suspense ; so 
without a moment's reflection Gildas ran after the others up 
the street. 

There had been rain for weeks, and the valleys inland were 
already half flooded ; but to-night it poured still as if all the 
vials of the aqueous heavens had been opened. Well might 
the ground tremble and the hidden River roar ! At last, as 
if at a preconcerted signal, the elements awoke in concert, 
and sounded the signal of storm. The sea rose high on the 
shore, the wind began to blow, the River rose blackly in its 
bed, and, most terrible of all, the pent-up floods burst their 
barriers among the hills. 



360 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

With the natural position of Kromlaix our readers are 
already familiar. Situated in the gap of the great sea-wall, 
and lying at the mouth of a narrow valley, it was equally at 
the mercy of inundations from inland and of inundations 
from the ocean. Rocked, as it were, upon the waves of the sea 
which crawled in beneath it to meet the subterranean river, 
it had nevertheless endured from generation to generation. 

Only once in the memory of the oldest inhabitant had 
destruction come. That was many years ago, so far back in 
time that it seemed an old man's tale to be heard and for- 
gotten. Yet there had been warnings enough of danger 
during this same autumn of 1813. Never for many a long 
year had there been such a rainfall ; never had there been 
such storms to mark the period of the autumnal equinox. 
Night after night the hidden river had given its warning, so 
that sometimes the very earth seemed shaken by its cry. 
The spring-tides, too, were higher than they had been for 
many seasons past. 

And now, on this Night of the Dead, when earth, air, and 
sea were covered with ghastly processions trooping to theii 
homes, when the little churches all along the coast were 
lighted up, and death-lights were placed in every house, the 
waters rose and rushed down upon their prey. Down 
through the narrow valleys above the village came, with the 
fury of a torrent, the raging Flood, filling the narrow chasm 
of the valley, and bearing everything before it towards the 
sea. It came in darkness, so that only its voice could be 
heard ; but could the eye of man have beheld it as it came, 
it would have been seen covered with floating prey of all 
kinds — with trees uprooted from the ground, fences and pal- 
ings torn away, thatched roofs of houses, and even enormous 
stones. Well might those shriek who heard it come ! 
Faster than a man might gallop on the fleetest horse, swifter 
than a man might sail in the swiftest ship, it rolled upon its 
way, fed by innumerable tributary torrents rushing down from 
the hills on either side, and gathering power and volume as it 
approached. But when it reached the dreary tarns of Ker 



" THE NIGHT OF THE DEAD." 361 

Leon, some miles above the village, it hesitated an hour, as 
if prepared to sink into the earth like the River which there 
ends his course ; then, recruited by new floods from the hill- 
sides, and from the overflowing tarns themselves, it rushed 
onward, and the fate of Kromlaix was sealed. 

During that brief space of indecision up among the tarns, 
the farmer of Ker Le'on, a brave man, had leapt upon his 
horse without stopping to use saddle or bridle, and galloped 
down to Kromlaix, shrieking warning as he went. At mid- 
night he reached the chapel on the hill-side, and without 
ceremony, -wet, dripping, and as white as a ghost from the 
dead, delivered his awful news. Fortunately the large 
portion of the population was still in the chapel. Shrieks 
and wails arose. 

" Sound the alarm ! " cried Father Rolland ; and the 
chapel bell began to toll. 

It was at this moment that the old Corporal, soaking and 
out of temper, arrived at the chapel door, and found the 
widow and his two nephews just ready to return home. He 
passed through the wailing groups of men and women, and 
accosted the farmer himself. 

" Perhaps, after all, it will not come so far," he cried ; 
'' the pools of Ker Leon are deep." 

The answer came, but not from the farmer ; the roar of 
the waters themselves coming wildly down the valley. 

" To the hill-sides ! " cried Father Rolland. " For your 
lives ! " 

Through the pitch darkness, struggling, screaming, stum- 
bling, fled the crowd, leaving the chapel behind them illumined 
but deserted. The rain still fell in torrents. Guided by a 
few spirits more cool and courageous than the rest, the 
miserable crowd rushed towards the ascents which closed the 
valley on either side, and which fortunately were not far 
distant. The old Corporal caught the general panic, and 
with eager hands helped on his affrighted sister-in-law. 
They had not gone far when a voice cried in the darkness 
close by — 



362 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Mother ! uncle ! " 

" It is Gildas, and alone," cried Mother Derval. "Almighty 
God ! where is Marcelle ? " 

The voice of Gildas replied — 

" I left her in the house below. But what is the matter ? 
Are you all mad ? " 

A wild shriek from the panic-stricken creatures around 
was the only answer. "The Flood ! the Flood '" they cried, 
flying for their lives; and, indeed, the imminent hour had 
come, for the lights of the chapel behind them were already 
extinguished in the raging waters, and the flood was rushing 
down on Kromlaix with a fatal roar, answerec' by a fainter 
murmur from the rising Sea 




CHAPTER XLIV. 

DELUGE. 

;FTER emerging into the great water cave and 
clinging to its walls as the furious torrents came 
boiling down to mingle with the sea, Rohan 
Gwenfern pausedforsome minutes, awestricken 
and amazed ; for it seemed as if the very 
bosom of the Earth had burst and all the dark streams of its 
heart were pouring forth. The tumult was deafening, the 
concussion terrific, and it was with difficulty that Rohan 
kept his place on the slippery ledge above the water. When 
his first surprise had abated he left the cave and ascended to 
his aerial home on the face of the cliff. 

All there was dark, for night had now fallen. Leaning 
forth through the cranny which served him as a window, he 
saw only a great wall of blackness, heard only the heavy 
murmur of torrents of rain. There was no wind, and the 
leaden drops were pattering like bullets into the sea, in 
straight perpendicular lines. 

He sat for a time in the darkness, pondering on the dis- 
coveries that he had made. Although his brain was to a 
certain extent deranged by the agonies he had undergone, 
and although he was subject to alarming cerebral seizures 
during which he was scarcely accountable for what he thought 
or did, the general current of his ideas was still clear, and 
his powers of observation and reflection remained intact 



304 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

He was perfectly able, therefore, to perceive the obvious 
explanation of what he had seen and discovered. The 
subterranean cave and its passage communication with the 
sea formed an enormous Aqueduct, fashioned, doubtless, 
for the purpose of letting the overflowing waters escape in 
times of flood. He had read of similar contrivances, and he 
knew that an aqueduct had been excavated not many leagues 
away, beyond La Vilaine. In fashioning the extraordinary 
place advantage had doubtless been taken of natural passages 
which had existed there from time immemorial ; but how 
the work was effected was a question impossible to answer, 
unless on the supposition that the Roman colonists had 
possessed an engineering skill little short of miraculous. 

He remembered now all the eld stories he had heard 
concerning former submersions of his native village, as well 
as the popular tradition that the buried Roman city had 
been itself destroyed by inundations. Was it possible, then, 
that the river which he had discovered crawling through 
the heart of the cliffs was the same river which plunged into 
the earth among the tarns of Ker Leon, and which, after 
winding for miles, eventually crept under Kromlaix and 
poured itself into the sea? If this was the case, all the 
phenomena were intelligible. The Roman colonists, fearful 
of floods and of the rising of the river, had constructed the 
Aqueduct for purposes of overflow, so that when the hour 
game the angry waters, before reaching their City, might be 
partially diverted into the great water cave, and thence 
through "Hell's Mouth " to the open ocean. How carefully 
the hands of man had worked ! How grandly, under the 
inspiration of that dead Caesar whose marble shadow still 
stood below, the mind of man had planned and wrought 
the Aqueduct ! Yet all had been of no avail. . At last the 
finger of God had been lifted, and the shining City by the 
';ea was seen no more. 

Real and simple as seemed the explanation, the fact of 
.he discovery was nevertheless awful and stupefying. It 
-eemed no less a dream than Rohan's other dreams. He saw 



DELUGE. 365 

the ghost of a buried world, and his heart went sick with 
awe. 

As he sat thinking he suddenly remembered that that night 
was the Night of the Dead. 

No sooner had the remembrance come than a nameless 
uneasiness took possession of him, and, approaching the 
loophole, he gazed forth again. And now to his irritated 
vision there seemed faint lights here and there upon the 
black waste of waters. He listened intently. Again and 
again amid the heavy murmur of the rain there came a 
sound like far-off voices. And yonder in Kromlaix the 
mass was being spoken and the white boards were being 
spread, for the Souls which were flocking from all quarters 
of the earth that night. 

He lit his lantern, and sat for some time in its beam ; but 
the dull dim light only made his situation more desolately sad. 
Pacing up and down the cave in agitation, and pausing again 
and again to listen to the sounds without, he waited on. The 
darkness grew more intense, the sound of the rain more 
oppressively sad. Repeatedly, from far beneath him, he 
heard a thunderous roar, which he knew came from the 
waters rushing into the great ocean-cave. 

As the hours crept on there came upon his soul a great 
hunger to be near his fellow-beings, to escape from the 
frightful solitude which seemed driving him to despair. In 
the dense darkness of that night he would be safe anywhere. 
(\.s for the rain, he heeded it not. There was a fire in his 
fieart which seemed to destroy all sense of wet or cold. 

At last, yielding to his uncontrollable impulse, he groped 
his way slowly downward through the natural passages and 
caves, until he emerged at the great Trou of St. Gildas. 
Here he paused until his eyes had grown accustomed to the 
darkness, and at last he was able dimly to discern the outline 
of the vast natural Cathedral. It was nine o'clock, and the 
tide had scarcely three parts flowed, so that not a drop 
had yet touched the Cathedral floor, and egress through the 
Gate was still possible. 



366 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Descending rapidly in his customary fashion, he reached 
the shingle below. Familiar even in darkness with every 
footstep of the way, he passed out through the Gate and 
waded round the promontory, where the water was only 
knee deep, until he reached the shore beyond. The rain 
was still falling in torrents, and he was soaking to the skin ; 
but, totally indifferent to the elements, he proceeded on his 
way. Yet he was bare-headed, and the ragged clothes he 
"•'/ore were only enough to cover his nakedness. Accustomed 
to exposure and to hardships of all kinds, he did not feel 
cold ; it would be time enough for that when winter came. 

Crossing the desolate shingle, he ascended the Ladder of 
St. Triffme. 

At midnight Rohan Gwenfern stood leaning against the 
Menhir, and gazing down into the blackness where Kromlaix 
lay. The rain still continued, and the night was pitch-dark ; 
but he could see the blood-red gleam of the window lights 
and the faint flickerings of lanterns carried to and fro. 
Inland, in the direction of St. Gurlott, streamed glittering 
rays from the windows of Father Rolland's chapel. Listen- 
ing intently he could hear at times the cry of a human voice. 

It was the Night of the Dead, and he knew that in every 
house that night the board would be left spread with remnants 
that the dead might enter and eat. Less houseless and less 
outcast than himself, they were welcome, that night at 
least, wherever they chose to knock ; while he, condemned 
to a daily living death, only creeping forth from his tomb 
in the cliffs like any other wandering and restless ghost, 
dare not even ac such a time approach close to any human 
hearth. He had resisted " even unto blood," and Cain's 
mark was upon him. For him there was no welcome ; he 
was outcast for evermore. 

As he stood thus, watching and thinking, the bell of the 
chapel began to peal violently. The sound, coming thus ur- 
expectedly from the darkness, was as the sudden leaping of 
a pulse in the wrist of a dead man. Almost simultaneously 



DELUGE. 367 

Rohan heard a faint far-off human scream. At first, with 
the superstitious instinct that had been bred in him and had 
not yet altogether forsaken him, he thought of the poor out- 
cast ghosts peopling the rainy night, and wondered if the 
sounds he heard were not wholly supernatural — whether dead 
hands were not touching the ropes of the chapel bell, while 
corpses gathered round the belfry and wailed a weary echo 
to the sound. But the bell pealed on, and more human cries 
followed. Something terrible was happening, and the alarm 
was being given. 

He had not long to wait for an explanation. Soon, from 
inland, came a roaring like the sea, as the mighty torrents 
approached ; shrieks arose from the gulf, on which the black 
rain still poured ; and lights flitted this way and that, mov- 
ing rapidly along the ground. He heard voices sounding 
clearer, as the flitting lights came nearer, and on the hill-side 
opposite lights were moving too. Rohan understood all in a 
moment. The inundation was coming, and those who had 
been warned were taking to the heights. 

It was now past midnight, and with the rising of the high 
tide there had risen a faint wind, which, as if to deepen the 
horror of th'j cat. jtrophe, now blew back the clouds covering 
the moon, then at the full. Although the rain continued to 
fall in torrents, the air was suddenly flooded with a watery 
gleam, and the village stood revealed in silhouette, with the 
black tide glistening coldly at its feet ; and above it, approach- 
ing with terrific rapidity from the inland valley, and towering 
up like a great wall, rolled the Flood. Simultaneously, from 
a hundred throats, rose horror-stricken screams ; and Rohan 
distinctly beheld, on the slope beneath him, the human 
figures clustering and looking down. Meantime, all seemed 
quiet down in the village itself : the lights gleamed faintly in 
the windows, and the moonlight lay on the dark roofs, on 
the empty streets, on the caloges close to the water's edge, 
and on the black line of smacks and skiffs which now floated, 
as if at anchor, on the high tide. 

Again the clouds covered the moon, and the picture of 



368 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD, 

Kromlaix was hidden. Amidst the darkness, with a roaring 
like that of a strong sea, the Flood entered the village and 
began its dreadful work of destruction and of death. It was 
dreadful to stand up there on the hill-side, and to hear the 
unseen waters struggling in the black gulf, like a snake strang- 
ling its victim and stifling his dying cries. The tumult con- 
tinued, deadened to a heavy roar, through the heart of which 
pierced sharp shrieks and piteous calls for help. One by one 
the lights were extinguished. Like a Thug strangler crawl- 
ing and killing in the night, the waters ran from place to 
place, feeling for their prey. 

When the clouds again drifted off the face of the moon, 
and things were again dimly visible, the Flood had met the 
Tide, and wherever the eye fell a black waste of water sur- 
rounded the houses, many of which were flooded to the roofs ; 
the main street was a brawling river, and the lanes on all 
sides were its tributary streams ; many of the boats had 
driven from shore and were rocking up and down as if on a 
stormy sea : and there was a sound in the air as of an earth- 
quake, broken only by frantic human cries. The desolation 
was complete, but the destruction had only just begun. From 
the inland valley fresh torrents were tumultuously flowing to 
recruit the floods ; so that the waters were every moment 
rising ; and the tide, flowing into the streets, mingled with 
the rivers of rain. Under the fury of the first attack many 
buildings had fallen, and the fierce washing of the waters was 
rapidly undermining others. And still there wa~ no sign of 
the cessation of the rain. Deluge was pouring upon deluge. 
It seemed as if the wrath of Heaven had only just begun. 




CHAPTER XLV. 

" MID WATERS WILD." 

> ITUATED apart, some distance from the main 
village, and built close upon the sea-shore un- 
der the shelter of the eastern crag, the house of 
Mother Gvvenfern stood, with several other 
scattered abodes, far out of danger. The only 
peril which seemed to threaten it came from the high 
tide, which that night rose nearly to the threshold, and, 
augmented by the rains of the flood, surged threateningly 
close upon it. Leading from the cottage to the heights 
above was a rocky path, and on this, gazing awe-stricken in 
the direction of the village, stood Mother Gwenfern, gaunt as 
a spectre in the flying gleams of moonlight. Around her 
gathered several neighbours, chiefly women and children, the 
latter crying in terror, the former crouching on the ground. 
Hard by was a group of men, including Mikel Grallon. 

Little had been said ; the situation was too appalling for 
words. While the flood played tiger-like with his victim, the 
women prayed wildly and the men crossed themselves again 
and again. From time to time an exclamation arose when 
the moon looked out and showed how the work of destruction 
was progressing. 

" Holy Virgin ! old Plouet's house is down ! " 
" Look — there was a light in the cabaret, but now it is all 
black!" 



37o THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" They are screaming out yonder ! '' 

" Hark, there ! — it is another roof falling ! " 

" Merciful God ! how black it is ! One would say it was 
the Last Judgment ! " 

The heights on each side of the village were now dotted 
with black figures, many carrying lights. It was clear that, 
owing to the superstitious customs of the night, many of the 
population had made good their escape. It was no less 
certain, however, that many others must have perished, or be 
perishing, amid the raging waters or in the submerged dwell- 
ings. Hope of escape or rescue there seemed none. Until 
the flood abated nothing could be saved. 

The group of men on the face of the cliff continued to gaze 
on and mutter among themselves. 

" The tide is still rising," said Mikel Grallon, in a low voice. 
He was comparatively calm, for his house, being situated 
apart from the main village, had so far escaped the fury of 
the inundation. 

"It has nearly an hour yet to flow ! " said another of the 
men. 

" And then ! " cried Grallon, significantly. All the men 
crossed themselves. Another hour of destruction, and what 
would then be left of Kromlaix and of those poor souls who 
still lingered within it ? 

As they stood whispering a figure rapidly descended the 
path from the heights above them, and, joining the group, 
called out the name of Mikel Grallon. The moon wa e 
once more hidden, and it was impossible to distinguish 
faces. 

" Who wants Mikel Grallon ? I am here ! " 

The new comer replied in a voice full of excitement and 
terror. 

" It is I, Gildas Derval ! Mikel, we are in despair. The 
old one and all the rest are safe up there : all of our family 
are safe but my sister Marcelle. Holy Virgin protect her, but 
she is in the house, out yonder amid the flood. My uncle is 
mad, and we are heart-broken. Can she not be saved ? " 



"MID WATERS WILD." 371 

" She is in God's hands," cried an old man. " No man 
can help her now." 

Gildas uttered a moan of misery, for he was really fond ot 
his sister. Mother Gwenfern, who stood close by and had 
heard the conversation, now approached, and demanded in 
her cold, clear voice — 

" Can nothing be done ? Are there no boats ? " 
" Boats ! " echoed Mikel Grallon. " One might as well go 
to sea in a shell as face the flood in any boat this night ; but, 
for all that, boats there are none. They are all out yonder, 
where the flood meets the tide, save those that are already 
carried out to sea." 

The widow raised her wild arms to heaven, murmuring 
Marcelle's name aloud. Gildas Derval almost began to 
blubber in the fury of his grief. 

" Ah God ! that I should come back from the great wars 
to see such a night as this ! I have always had bad luck, 
but this is the worst. My poor Marcelle ! Look you, before 
I went away she tied a holy medal around my neck, and it 
kept me from harm. Ah, she was a good little thing ! and 
must she die ? " 

" The blessed Virgin keep her ! " cried Mikel Grallon ; 
" what can we do ? " 

" It is not only Marcelle Derval," said the old man who 
had already spoken ; " it is not only one, but many, that shall 
be taken this night. God be praised I have neither wife nor 
child to die so sad a death." 

As the speaker finished and reverently crossed his breast, 
another voice broke the silence. 

" Who says there are no boats ? " it demanded in strange 
sharp tone;?. 

" I," answered Mikel Grallon. " Who speaks ? " 
There was no reply, but a dark figure, pushing through the 
group of men, rapidly descended the crag in the direction of 
the sea. 

" Mother of God ! " whispered Grallon, as if struck by 9 
sudden thought, " it is Gwenfern." 



372 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Immediately several voices cried aloud, " Is it thou, Rohan 
Gwenfern ? " and Rohan — for it was he — answered from the 
darkness, "Yes ; come this way ! " 

In the great terror and solemnity of the moment no one 
seemed astonished at Rohan's appearance, and, strange to 
say, no one, with the exception perhaps of Mikel Grallon, 
dreamed of laying hands on the deserter. The apparition of 
the hunted and desperate man seemed perfectly in keeping 
with all the horrors of that night. Silently the men followed 
him down to the shore. The tide was now lapping at the 
very door of his mother's cottage. He paused, looking down 
at the water, and surrounded by the men. 

" Where are all the rafts ? " he asked. 

" The rafts ! What raft could live out yonder ? " cried 
Gildas Derval ; and he added, in a whisper to Mikel Grallon, 
" My cousin is mad." 

At that moment Rohan's foot struck against a black mass 
washing on the very edge of the sea. Stooping down he dis- 
covered, by touch rather than by eye-sight, that it was one 
of those smaller rafts which were rudely constructed at that 
season of the year for the purpose of gathering the go'emo7i 
or sea-wrack from the reefs. It consisted of several trunks 
of trees and tree branches, crossed with fragments of old 
barrels, and lashed together with thick slippery ropes twisted 
out of ocean-tangle. A man might safely in dead calm 
weather pilot such a raft when loaded, letting it drift with the 
tide or pushing it with a pole along the shallows ; and that it 
had quite recently been in use was clear from the fact that it 
was still partially loaded and kept under water by clinging 
masses of slippery weed. 

As Rohan bent over the raft the moon shone out in full 
brilliance, and the village was again illumined. The flood 
roared loudly as ever, and the black waters of the sea seemed 
nearly level with the roofs of the most low-lying dwellings. 
Upon the edge where flood and sea met, the waters boiled 
like a cauldron, and debris of all descriptions came rushing 
down in the arms of the rivers of rain. There was another 



"MID WATERS WILD." 373 

heavy crash, as of houses falling in. As if the terror had 
reached its completion, the rain now ceased, and the moon 
continued visible for many minutes together. 

" Quick ! bring me a pole or an oar ! " cried Rohan, turn- 
ing to his companions. 

Several men ran rapidly along the beach in quest of what 
he sought ; for though they did not quite understand how he 
intended to act, and although, moreover, they believed that 
to launch forth on the raft was to put his life in jeopardy, they 
were under the spell of his stronger nature, and offered neither 
suggestion nor opposition. 

"Rohan! my son!" cried Mother Gwenfern, creeping 
down and holding him by the hand ; " what are you going 
to do?" 

"I am going to Marcelle Derval !" 
" But you will die ! you will perish in the waters ! " 
In the excitement of the moment Mother Gwenfern, like 
all the rest, forgot the man's actual relation to society, forgot 
that his life was forfeited, and that all hands would have been 
ready, under other circumstances, to drag him to the guillo- 
tine. All she remembered was his present danger ; that he 
was going to certain death. 

In answer, Rohan only laughed strangely. Seizing a large 
oar from Gildas Derval, who ran up with it at that moment, 
he sprang on the raft and pushed from shore. Under his 
weight, the raft swayed violently and sank almost under 
water. 

" Comeback ! comeback !" cried Mother Gwenfern ; but, 
with vigorous pushes of the uar, which he thrust to the bottom 
and used as a pole, Rohan moved rapidly away. For better 
security, since the raft seemed in danger of capsizing, he sank 
on his knees, and thus, partially immersed in the cold waters 
that flowed over the slippery planks, he disappeared into the 
darkness. 
The men looked at one another shuddering. 
"As well die that way," muttered Mikel Grallon, "as 

another ! " 

2 B 




CHAPTER XLVI. 

MARCELLE. 

'HE wind had risen, and was blowing gently off 
the land ; and the sea, at the confluence of flood 
and tide, was broken into white waves. As 
Rohan approached the vicinity of the submerged 
village his situation became perilous, for it was quite 
clear that the raft could not live long in those angry 
waters. Nevertheless, fearlessly, and with a certain fury, he 
forced the raft on by rowing, now at one side, now at another. 
Though the work was tedious, it was work in which he was 
well skilled, and he was soon tossing in the broken water be- 
low the village. The tide all round him was strewn with 
dibris of all kinds — -trunks of trees, fragments of wooden 
furniture, bundles of straw, thatch from sunken roofs — and it 
required no little care to avoid perilous collisions. 

The moon was shining clearly, so that he had now an oppor- 
tunity of perceiving the extent of the disaster. The houses 
and caloges lying just above high-water mark were covered to 
the very roofs, and all around them the sea itself was surging 
and boiling ; while above them the buildings of the main 
village loomed disastrously amid a gleaming waste of boiling 
pools ; muddy rivers and streams, and stagnant canals. 
Many dwellings, undermined by the washing of the torrents, 
had fallen in, and others were tottering. 

A heavy roar still came from the direction whence the 



MARCELLE. 375 

flood had issued, but it was clear that the full fury of the in- 
undation had ceased. Nevertheless, it being scarcely high 
tide, it was impossible to tell what horrors were yet in store ; 
for though the rivers of rain in the main streets were growing 
still, the water was working subtly and terribly at the founda- 
tions of the houses. 

How many living souls had perished could not yet be told. 
Some, doubtless, dwelling in one-storied buildings, had been 
found in their beds and quietly smothered, almost before 
they could utter a cry. Fortunately, however, the greater 
portion of the population had been astir, and had been able 
to escape a calamity which would otherwise have been uni- 
versal. 

Eighty or a hundred yards from shore a crowd of unwieldy 
vessels, with masts lowered, tossed at anchor ; others had 
floated off the land and were being blown farther and farther 
out to sea ; and here and there in the waters around were 
drifting nets which had been swept away from the stakes 
where they had been left to dry. More than once the raft 
struck against dead sheep and cattle, floating partially sub- 
merged, and as it drifted past the nets Rohan saw, deep down 
in the tangled folds, something which glimmered like a human 
face. 

Once among the troubled waters, he found it quite impos- 
sible to navigate the raft. The waters pouring downward drove 
it back towards the floating craft and threatened to carry it 
out to sea. At last, to crown all, the rotten ropes of tangle 
gave way, the trunks and staves fell apart, and Rohan found 
himself struggling among the troubled waves of the tide. 

He was a strong swimmer, but his strength had been 
terribly reduced by trouble and privation. Grasping the oar 
with one hand and partially supporting himself by its aid, he 
struck out to the nearest of the deserted fishing craft ; reach- 
ing which, he clung on to the bowsprit chain and drew his 
body partially out of the water. As he did so, he espied, 
floating a few yards distant, at the stern of a smack, a small 
boat like a ship's " din^y " 

i 



376 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

To swim to the boat, and to drag himself into it by main 
force, was the work of only a few minutes. He then dis- 
covered to his joy that it contained a pair of paddles. Un- 
fortunately, however, it was so leaky and so full of water that 
his weight brought it down almost to the gunwale, and 
threatened to sink it altogether. 

Every moment was precious. Seizing the rope by which 
the boat was attached to the smack, he climbed up over the 
stern of the latter, and searching in its hold found a rusty iron 
pot. With this he in a few minutes baled out the punt ; then 
seizing the paddles, he pulled wildly towards the shore. 

The work was easy until he again reached the confluence 
of flood and tide. Here the waters were pouring down so 
rapidly, and were moreover so strewn with dangerous debris, 
that he was again and again in imminent danger.- 

Exerting all his extraordinary strength, he forced the boat 
between the roofs of the caloges, and launched out into the 
stream of the main river pouring from the village. Swept 
back against a nearly covered caloge, he was almost capsized ; 
but, leaping out on the roof, he rapidly baled his boat, which 
was already filling with water. Fortunately the flood was 
decreasing in violence and the tide had turned, but it never- 
theless seemed a mad and hopeless task to force the frail 
boat further in the face of such obstacles. The main street 
was a rapid river, filled with great boulders washed down 
from the valley, and with flotsam and jetsam of all kinds. 
To row against it was utterly impossible ; the moment he 
endeavoured to do so he was swept back and almost 
swamped. 

Another man, even if he had possessed the foolhardiness 
to venture so far, would now have turned and fled. But 
perhaps because his forfeited life was no longer a precious 
thing to him, perhaps because his strength and courage 
always increased with opposition, perhaps because he had 
determined once and for ever to show how a " coward " 
could act when brave men were quaking in their shoes, 
Rohan Gwenfern gathered all his strength together for a 



MARCELLE. 377 

mighty effort. Rowing to the side of the river, he threw 
down his oars and clutched hold of the solid masonry of a 
house ; and then dragging the boat along by main force 
from wall to wall, he rapidly accomplished a distance of 
fifteen or twenty yards. Pausing then, and keeping firm 
hold of the projecting angle of a roof, while the flood was 
boiling past, he beheld floating among the other debris, the 
body of a child. 

Repeating the same manoeuvre, he again dragged the boat 
on ; again rested ; again renewed his toil ; until he had 
reached the very heart of the village. Here fortunately the 
waters were less rapid, and he could force his way along with 
greater ease. But at every yard of the way the picture grew 
more pitiful, the feeling of devastation more complete. The 
lower houses were submerged, and some of the larger ones 
had fallen. On many of the roofs were gathered groups of 
human beings, kneeling and stretching out their hands to 
heaven. 

" Help ! help ! " they shrieked, as Gwenfern appeared ; 
but he only waved his hand and passed on. 

At last, reaching the narrow street in which stood the Cor- 
poral's dwelling, he discovered to his joy that the house was 
still intact. The flood here was very swift and terrible, so 
that at first it almost swept him away. He now to his horror 
perceived, floating seaward, many almost naked corpses. 
Opposite to the Corporal's house a large barn had fallen in, 
and within the walls numbers of cattle were floating dead. 

The Corporal's house consisted, as the reader is aware, of 
two stories, the upper forming a sort of attic in the gable of 
the roof. The waters had risen so high that the door and 
windows of the lower story were entirely hidden, and a power- 
ful current was sweeping along right under the window of the 
little upper room where Marcelle slept. 

Ah God ! if she did not live ! If the cruel flood had found 
her below, and before she could escape had seized her and 
destroyed her like so many of the rest ! 

The house was still some twenty yards away and very diffi- 



378 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

cult to reach. Clinging with one hand to the window-frame 
of one of the houses below, Rohan gathered all his strength, 
baled out his boat, and then prepared to drag it on. To add 
to the danger of his position the wind had now grown quite 
violent, blowing with the current and in the direction of the 
sea. If once his strength failed, and he was swept into the 
full fury of the mid-current, the result must be almost certain 
death. 

With the utmost difficulty he managed to row the boat to 
the window of a cottage two doors from that of the Corporal ; 
here, finding further progress by water impracticable, for the 
current was quite irresistible, he managed to clamber up to 
the roof, and, clutching in his hand the rope of the boat, 
which was fortunately long, to scramble desperately on. At 
this point his skill as a cragsman stood him in good stead. 
At last, after extraordinary exertions, he reached the very 
gable of the house he sought, and, standing erect in the boat, 
clutched at the window-sill. In a moment the boat was swept 
from beneath his feet, and he found himself dangling by his 
hands, while his feet trailed in the water under him. 

Still retaining, wound round one wrist, the end of the rope 
which secured the boat, he hung for a few seconds sus- 
pended ; then putting out his strength and performing a trick 
in which he was expert, he drew himself bodily up until one 
knee rested on the sill. In another moment he was safe. 
On either side of the window were clumsy iron hooks, used 
for keeping the casement open when it was thrown back 
Securing the rope to one of these by a few rapid turns, he 
dashed the casement open and sprang into the room. 

" Marcelle ! Marcelle ! " 

He was answered instantly by an eager cry. Marcelle, 
who had been on her knees in the middle of the room, rose 
almost in terror. Surprised in her sleep, she had given her- 
self up for lost, but with her characteristic presence of mind 
she had hurriedly donned a portion of her attire. Her feet, 
arms, and neck were bare, and her hair fell loose upon her 
shoulders. 



MARCELLE. 379 

''■ It is T — Rohan ! I have come to save you, and there is 
no time to lose. Come away ! " 

While he spoke the house trembled violently, as if shaken 
to its foundations. Marcelle gazed on her lover as if stupefied, 
his appearance seemed unaccountable and preternatural. 
Stepping across the room, the floor of which seemed to quake 
beneath his feet, he threw his arms around her and drew her 
towards the window. 

" Do not be afraid ! " he said, in a hollow voice. " You 
will be saved yet, Marcelle. Come ! " 

He did not attempt any fonder greeting ; his whole man- 
ner was that of a man burthened by the danger of the hour. 
But Marcelle, whom recent events had made somewhat 
hysterical, clung to him wildly and lifted up her white face to 
his. 

" Is it thou, indeed? When the flood came I was dream- 
ing of thee, and when I went to the window and saw the 
great waters and heard the screaming of the folk I knelt and 
prayed to the good God. Rohan ! Rohan ! " 

" Come away ! there is no time to lose." 

" How didst thou come ? One would say thou hadst fallen 
from heaven. Ah, thou hast courage, and the people lie ! " 

He drew her to the window, and pointed down to the boat 
which still swung below the sill. Then in hurried whispers 
he besought her to gather all her strength and to act im- 
plicitly as he bade her, that her life might be saved. 

Seizing the rope with his left hand, he drew the boat 
towards him until it swung close under the window. He 
then assisted her through the window, and bade her cling to 
his right arm with both hands while he let her down into the 
boat. Fearful but firm, she obeyed, and in another minute 
had dropped safely down. Loosening the rope and still keep- 
ing it in his hand, he leapt after her. In another instant they 
were drifting seaward on the flood. 

It was like a ghastly dream. Swept along on the turbid 
stream, amid floating trees, dead cattle and sheep, flotsam 
and jetsam of all kinds, Marcelle saw the houses flit by her 



380 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

in the moonlight, and heard troubled voices crying for help. 
Seated before her, Rohan managed the paddles, restraining 
as far as possible the impetuous progress of the boat. Again 
and again they were in imminent peril from collision, and as 
they proceeded the boat rapidly filled. Under Rohan's 
directions, however, Marcelle baled out the water, while he 
piloted the miserable craft with the oars. 

At last they swept out into the open sea, where the tide, 
beaten by the wind and meeting with the flood, was " chop- 
ping " and boiling in short sharp waves. The danger was 
now almost over. With rapid strokes Rohan rowed in the 
direction of the shore whence he had started on the raft. 
Gathered there to receive him, with flashing torches and 
gleaming lanterns, was a crowd of women and men. 

After a moment's hesitation he ran the boat in upon the 
strand. 

" Leap out ! " he cried to his companion. 

Springing on the shore, Marcelle was almost immediately 
clasped in the arms of her mother, who was eagerly giving 
thanks to God. Amazed and aghast, the Corporal stood by 
with his nephews, gazing out at the dark figure of Rohan. 

Before a word could be said Rohan had pushed off again. 

'•' Stay, Rohan Gwenfern ! " said a voice. 

Rohan stood up erect in the boat. 

" Are there no men among you," he cried, "that you stand 
there useless and afraid ? There are more perishing out 
there, women and children. Jan Goron ! " 

" Here," answered a voice. 

" The flood is going down, but the houses are still falling 
in, and lives are being lost. Come with me, and we will find 
boats." 

'• I will come," said Jan Goron ; and wading up to the 
waist, he climbed into the boat with Rohan. Marcelle 
uttered a low cry as the two pushed off in the direction of the 
village. 

" God forgive me ! " murmured the Corporal. " He is a 
brave man ! " 



MARCELLE. 38 1 

The tide was now ebbing rapidly ; and though the village 
was still submerged, the floods were no longer rising, 
Nevertheless, the devastation to a certain extent continued, 
and every moment added to the peril of those survivors who 
remained in the village. 

Aided by Jan Goron, Rohan soon discovered, among the 
cluster of boats at anchor, several large fishing skiffs. Spring- 
ing into one, and abandoning the small boat, the two men 
managed with the aid of the paddles to row to the shore, 
towing astern another skiff similar to the one in which they 
sat. A loud shout greeted them as they ran into land. 

Totally forgetful of his personal position, Rohan now rapidly 
addressed the men in tones of command. Oars were found 
and brought, and soon both skiffs were manned by power- 
ful crews and pulling in the direction of the village. In 
the stern of one stood Rohan, guiding and inspiring his com- 
panions. 

What followed was only a repetition of Rohan's former 
adventure, shorn of much of its danger and excitement. The 
inundation was now comparatively subdued, and the men 
found little difficulty in rowing their boats through the streets. 
Soon the skiffs were full of women and children, half fainting 
and still moaning with fear. After depositing these in safety, 
the rescuing party returned to the village and continued their 
work of mercy. 

It was weary work, and it lasted for hours. As the night 
advanced other boats appeared, some from neighbouring 
villages, and moved with flashing lights about the dreary 
waste of waters. It was found necessary again and again to 
enter the houses and to search the upper portions for 
paralyzed women and helpless children ; and at great peril 
many creatures were rescued thus. Where the peril was 
greatest, Rohan Gwenfern led : he seemed, indeed, to know 
no fear. 

At last, when the first peep of dawn came, all the good 
work was done, and not a living soul remained to be saved. 
As the dim chill light rose on the scene of desolation, show- 



382 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

ing more clearly the flooded village with its broken gables 
and ruined walls, Rohan stepped on the shore close to his 
mother's cottage, and found himself almost immediately sur- 
rounded by an excited crowd. Now for the first time the 
full sense of his extraordinary position came upon him, and 
he drew back like a man expecting violence. Ragged, half 
naked, haggard, ghastly, and dripping wet, he looked a 
strange spectacle. Murmurs of wonder and pity arose as he 
gazed on the people. A woman whose two children he had 
saved that night rushed forward, and with many appeals to 
the Virgin kissed his hands. He saw the Corporal standing 
by, pale and troubled, looking on the ground ; and near to 
him Marcelle, with her passionate shining white face towards 
him. 

Half stupefied, he moved up the strand. The crowd 
parted, to let him pass. 

" In the name of the Emperor ! " cried a voice. A hand 
was placed upon his arm. Turning quietly, he encountered 
the eyes of Mikel Grallon. 

Grallon's interference was greeted with angry murmurs, for 
the popular sympathy was all with the hero of the night. 

" Stand back, Mikel Grallon ! " cried many voices. 

"It is the deserter!" said Grallon, stubbornly; and he 
repeated, " In the name of the Emperor ! " 

Before he could utter anodier word he found himself seized 
in a pair of powerful arms and hurled to the ground. Rohan 
Gwenfern himself had not lifted a finger. The attack came 
from quite another quarter. The old Corporal, red with rage, 
had sprung upon Grallon, and was fiercly holding him down. 

Scarcely paying any attention, Rohan passed quietly 
through the crowd and rapidiy ascended the cliff. Pausing 
on the summit, he looked down quietly for some seconds ; 
then he disappeared. 

But the Corporal still held Mikel Grallon down, shaking 
him as a furious old hound shakes a rat. 

" In the name of the Emperor ! " he cried, angrily echoing 
the prostrate man's own words. " Beast, lie still ! " 



CHAPTER XLVII. 



THE GROWING OF THE CLOUD. 




ND now the darkness of winter fell, and days and 
weeks and months passed anxiously away. 

Down at lonely Kromlaix, by the sea, things 
were sadder than they had been for many 
winters past. When the flood subsided, and 
the full extent of the desolation could be apprehended, it was 
found that more lives had been lost than had at first been 
calculated. Many poor souls had perished quietly in their 
beds ; others, while endeavouring to escape, had been 
crushed under the ruins of their crumbling homes. The 
mortality was chiefly among women and little children. Al- 
though the greater part of the corpses were recovered and 
buried with holy rites in the little churchyard, some had been 
carried out to the bottom of the deep ocean and were never 
seen again. 

When the Corporal went down to take stock of his 
dwelling, he found that ? portion of the walls had yielded, 
and that some of the roof had fallen in ; so that Marcelle, 
had she remained a little longer in the house on that fatal 
night, would most certainly have encountered a terrible and 
cruel death. It took many a long day to rebuild the ruined 
portion of the dwelling, and to make good the grievous loss 
in damaged household goods ; and not until the new year had 
:orae boisterously in, was the place decently habitable again. 



3S4 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD, 

Meantime, Famine had been crawling about the village, 
hand in hand with Death, for much grain had been destroyed, 
— and when grain fails, the poor must starve and die. And 
then, following close upon the flood, had come the news of 
the new conscription of 300,000 men, of which little Kromlaix 
had again to supply its share. Well might the poor souls 
think that God was against them, and that there was neither 
hope nor comfort anywhere under Heaven. 

Over all these troubles we let the curtain fall. Our 
purpose in these pages is not to harrow up the heart with 
pictures of human torture — whether caused by the cruelty of 
Nature or the tyranny of Man— nor to light up with a lurid 
pen the darkness of unrecorded sorrows. It is rather our 
wish, while telling a tale of human patience and endurance, 
to reveal from time to time those higher spiritual issues 
which fortify the thoughts of those who love their kind, and 
which make poetry possible in a world whose simple prose is 
misery and despair. Let us, therefore, for a time darken 
the stage on which our actors come and go. When the 
curtain arises again, it is to the sullen music of the great 
Invasion of 18 14. 

Like hungry wolves the Grand Army was being driven 
back before the scourges of avenging nations. For many a 
long year France had sent forth her legions to feed upon and 
destroy other lands ; now it was her turn to taste the cup 
she had so freely given. Across her troubled plains, moving 
this way and that, and shrieking to that baifxav who seemed 
at last to have deserted him, flew Bonaparte. Already in 
outlying districts arose the old spectre of the White, causing 
foolish enthusiasts to trample on the tricolor. Mysterious 
voices were heard again in old chateaux, down in lonely 
Brittany. Loyalists and Republicans alike were beginning 
to cry out aloud even in the public ways, despite the decree 
of death on all those who should express Bourbon sympathies 
or give assistance to the Allies. Duras had armed Touraine, 
and the Abbe Jacquilt was busy in La Vendue. 

Meantime, to those honest people who hated strife, the 



THE GROWING OF THE CLOUD. 385 

terror deepened. While the log blazed upon the hearth and 
the cold winds blew without, those who sat within listened 
anxiously and started at every sound ; for there was no say- 
ing in what district the ubiquitous and child-eating Cossack 
(savage forerunner of the irrepressible Uhlan of a later and 
wickeder invasion) might appear nex' , pricking on his pigmy 
steed. The name of Blucher became a household word, and 
men were learning another name, — that of Wellington. 

The hour came when Bonaparte, surrounded and in tribu- 
lation, might have saved his Imperial Crown by assenting to 
the treaty of Chatillon ; but, overmastered by faith in his 
destiny, and a prey, moreover, to the most violent passions, 
he let the saving hour glide by, and manoeuvred until it was 
too late. By the treaty of March, 18 14, Austria, Russia, 
Prussia, and England bound themselves individually to keep 
up an army of 150,000 men, until France was reduced within 
her ancient limits ; and by the same treaty, and for the same 
purpose, that of carrying on the war, four millions were ad- 
vanced by the " shopkeepers " of England. Nevertheless, 
the Emperor, still trusting in his lurid star, continued to in- 
sist on the imperial boundaries. So insisting, he marched 
upon Blucher at Soissons, and began the last act of the 
war. 

Thus the terrible winter passed away. Spring came, and 
brought the violet ; but the fields and lanes were still dark- 
ened with strife, and all over France still lay the Shadow of 
the Sword. 

Meantime, what had become of Rohan Gwenfern ? After 
that night of the great flood he made no sign, and all search 
for him virtually ceased. It was clearly impossible that he 
could be still in hiding out among the cliffs, for the severe 
weather had set in : no man could have lived through it un- 
der such conditions. That Rohan was not dead Marcelle 
knew from various sources, although she had no idea where 
he was to be found : and she blessed the good God, who 
had preserved him so far, and who would perhaps forgive all 



386 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

his wild revolt, for the sake of the good deeds that he had 
done on the terrible Night of the Dead. Doubtless some 
dark roof was sheltering him now, and, fortunately, men were 
too full of affairs to think much about a solitary revolter. Ah, 
if he had not killed Pipriac ! If the guilt of blood were off 
his hands ! Then the good Emperor might have forgiven 
him and taken him back, like the prodigal son. 

In one respect, at least, Marcelle was happy. She no 
longer lay under the reproach of having loved a coward ? 
her lover had justified himself and her; and he had vindi- 
cated his courage in a way which it was impossible to mis- 
take. Ah, yes, he was brave ! and if Master Arfoll and other 
wicked counsellors had not put a spell upon him, he would 
have shown his bravery on the battle-field ! It was still 
utterly inscrutable to her that Rohan should have acted as 
he did. General principles she could not understand, and 
any abstract proposition concerning the wickedness and 
cowardice of War itself would have been as incomprehensible 
to her as a problem in trigonometry or a page of Spinosa. 
War was one of the institutions of the world — 

" It had been since the world began, 
And would be till its close." 

It was as much a thing of course as getting married or going 
to confession ; and it was, moreover, one of the noble pro- 
fessions in which brave men, like her uncle, might serve their 
ruler and the State. 

Although it was now subtly qualified by anxiety for her 
lover's fate, her enthusiasm in the Imperial causedid not inany 
degree abate. Marcelle was one of those women who cling 
the more tenaciously to a belief the more it is questioned and 
decried, and the more it approaches the stat-e of a forlorn 
faith ; so that as the Emperor's star declined, and people 
began to look forward eagerly for its setting, her adoration 
rose, approaching fanaticism in its intensity. It was just the 
same with Corporal Derval. All through that winter the 
Corporal suffered untold agonies, but his rorufidence and his 



THE GROWING OF THE CLOUD. 387 

faith rose with the darkening of the Imperial sphere. Night 
after night he perused the bulletins, eagerly construing them 
to his master's triumph and glory. His voice was loud in 
its fulminations against the Allies, especially against the Eng- 
lish. He kept the Napoleonic pose more habitually than 
ever — and he prophesied ; but, alas ! his voice now was as 
the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and there were none 
to hearken. 

For, as we have already more than once hinted, Kromlaix 
was too near to the chateaux not to keep within it many 
sparks of Legitimist flame ready to burn forth brilliantly at 
any moment ; and although Corporal Derval had been a local 
power, he had ruled more by fear than by love, receiving 
little opposition because opposition was scarcely safe. When, 
however, the tide began to turn, he found, like his master, 
that he had been miscalculating the true feelings of his neigh- 
bours. Again and again he was openly contradicted and 
talked down. When he spoke of "the Emperor," others 
began to speak boldly of " the King.'' He heard daily, in 
his walks and calls, enough " blasphemy " to make his hair 
stand on end, and to make him think with horror of another 
Deluge. One evening, walking by the sea, he saw several 
bonfires burning up on the hill-sides. The same night he 
heard that the Due de Berri had landed in Jersey. 

Among those who seemed quietly turning their coats from 
parti-red to white was Mikel Grallon ; and, indeed, we doubt 
not that honest Mikel would have turned his skin also, if that 
were possible, and if it could be shown to be profitable. He 
seemed now to have abandoned the idea of marrying Mar- 
celle, but he none the less bitterly resented her fidelity to his 
rival. As soon as the tide of popular feeling was fairly 
turned against Napoleon, Grallon quietly ranged himself on 
the winning side, secretly poisoning the public mind against 
the Corporal, in whom, ere long, people began to see the in- 
carnation of all they most detested and feared. Things grew, 
until Corporal Derval, so far from possessing any of his old 
influence, became the most un^pular man in Kromlaix. He 



388 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

represented the fading superstition, which was already be- 
ginning to be regarded with abhorrence. 

The Corporal's health had failed a little that winter, and 
these changes preyed painfully on his mind. He began to 
show unmistakable signs of advancing age : his voice lost 
much of its old ring and volume, his eyes grew dimmer, his 
step less firm. It required vast quantities of tobacco to 
soothe the trouble of his heart, and he would sit whole even- 
ings silent in the kitchen, smoking and looking at the fire. 
When he mentioned Rohan's name, which was but seldom, 
it was with a certain gentleness very unusual to him ; and it 
seemed to Marcelle, watching him, that he quietly reproached 
himself with having been unjust to his unfortunate nephew. 

" I am sure uncle is not well," Marcelle said in a low voice, 
glancing across at the Corporal sitting by the fire. 

" There is only one thing that can cure him," said Gildas, 
whom she addressed, " and that is, a great Victory." 




CHAPTER XLVIII. 

" VIVE LE ROI ! " 

■ HILE the great campaign was proceeding in 
the interior, and the leaders of the allied armies 
were hesitating and deliberating, a hand was 
waving signals from Paris and beckoning the 
invaders on. So little confidence had they 
in their own puissance, and so great, despite their 
successes, continued their dread of falling into one of 
those traps which Bonaparte was so cunning in preparing, 
that they would doubtless have committed fatal delays but 
for encouragement from within the City. 

" You venture nought, when you might venture all ! 
Venture again ! " 



wrote this hand to the Emperor Alexander. The hand was 
that of Talleyrand. 

So it came to pass, late in the month of March, that 
crowds of affrighted peasants, driving before them their 
carts and horses and their flocks and herds, and lead- 
ing their wives and children, flocked into Paris, crying 
that the invaders were approaching on Paris in counties? 
hosts. The alarum sounded, the great City poured out iK 
swarms into the streets, and all eyes were gazing in the 

2 c 



390 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

direction of Montmartre. Vigorous preparations were made 
to withstand a siege — Joseph Bonaparte encouraging the 
people by assurances that the Emperor would soon be at 
hand. 

u It is a bad look-out for the enemy," said Corporal 
Derval nervously, when this news reached him. " Every 
step towards Paris is a step further away from their supplies. 
Do you think the Emperor does not know what he is about? 
It is a trap, and Paris will swallow them like a great mouth 
— snap ! one bite, and they are gone. Wait." 

A few days later came the news of the flight of the Empress. 
The Corporal turned livid, but forced a laugh. 

" Women are in the way when there is to be fighting. 
Besides, she does not want to see her relations, the Austrians, 
eaten up alive." 

The next day came the terrible announcement that Paris 
was taken. The Corporal started up as if a knife had entered 
his heart. 

" The enemy in Paris ! " he gasped. " Where is the 
Emperor ?" 

Ah, where indeed ? For once in his life Bonaparte had 
fallen into a trap himself, and while Paris was being taken, 
had been lured towards the frontier out of the way. It was 
Mseless now to rush, almost solitary, to the rescue ; yet the 
Emperor, seated in his carriage, rolled towards themetropolis, 
far in advance of his army. His generals met him in the 
environs, and warned him back. He shrieked, threatened, 
implored ; but it was too late. He then heard with horror 
that the authorities had welcomed the invaders, and that 
the Imperial government was virtually overthrown. Heart- 
sick and mad, he rushed to Fontainebleau. 

To the old Corporal, sitting by his fireside, this news came 
also in due time. Father Rolland was there when it came, 
and he shook his head solemnly. 

" The allied sovereigns refuse to treat with the Emperor," 
he read aloud. « Well, well ! " 

This " well, well " might mean either wonder, or sympathy, 



" VIVE LE ROIl n 391 

or approval, just as the hearer felt inclined to construe it ; 
for Father Rolland was a philosopher, and took things calmly 
as they came. Even a miracle done in broad day would no*' 
have astonished him much ; to his simple mind, all human 
affairs were miraculous, and miraculously commonplace. 
But the veteran whom he had addressed was not so calm. 
He trembled, and tried to storm. 

" They refuse ! " he cried, with a feeble attempt at his old 
manner. "You will say next that the mice refuse to treat 
with the lion. Soul of a crow ! what are these emperors 
and kings ? Go to ! The Little Corporal has unmade kings 
by the dozen, and he has eaten empires for breakfast. I tell 
you, in a little while the Emperor Alexander will be glad 
enough to kiss his feet. As for the Emperor of Austria, his 
conduct is shameful, for is he not our Emperor's kith and 
kin?" 

" Do you think there will be more fighting, my Corporal ?" 
demanded the little priest. 

The Corporal set his lips tight together, and nodded his 
head automatically. 

" It is easier to put your hand in the lion's mouth than 
to pull it out again. When the Emperor is desperate, he is 
terrible — all the world knows that ; and now that he has 
been trampled upon and insulted, he is not likely to rest till 
he has obliterated these canaille from the face of the earth." 

" I heard news to-day," observed Gildas, looking up from 
his place in the ingle, and joining in the conversation for 
the first time. " They say that Due de Berri has landed 
again in Jersey, and that the King " 

Before he could complete the sentence, his uncle uttered 
a cry of rage and protestation. 

" The King ! Malediction 1 What king ?" 

Gildas grinned awkwardly. 

" King Louis, of course ! " 

" A das le Boterbon / " thundered the Corporal, pale as 
death, and trembling with rage from head to foot. " Never 
name him, Gildas Derval ! King Louis ! King Capet ! " 



392 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The little cure, rose quietly and put on his hat. 

" I must go," he said ; " but let me tell you, my Corporal, 
that your language is too violent. The Bourbons were our 
kings by divine right, and they were good friends to the 
Church ; and if they should return to prosperity, I, for one, 
will give them my allegiance." 

So saying, Father Rolland saluted the household and 
quietly took his departure. The Corporal sank trembling 
into a chair. 

"If they should return !" he muttered. " Ah, well, there 
is no danger of that so long as the little Corporal is alive ! " 

Corporal Derval was wrong. A fanatic to the heart's 
core, he did not at all comprehend the true fatality of the 
situation ; and although his thoughts were full of secret 
alarm, he hoped, believed, and trusted still. The idea of 
the total overthrow of the god of his faith never occurred to 
him at all ; as easily might the conception of the fall of 
Mahomet have entered the brain of a proselytising Mussul- 
man. As for the return of the exiled family — why, that, on 
the very face of it, was too ridiculous ! 

He was, of course, well acquainted with the state of 
popular sentiment, and he knew how strong the Legitimist 
party was even in his own village. Here, too, was little Father 
Rolland, who had no political feelings to speak of, and who 
had served under the Emperor so long, beginning to side 
with the enemies of truth and justice ! The priest was a 
good fellow, but to hear him talk about " divine right'' was 
irritating. As if there was any right more divine than the 
sovereignty of the Emperor ! 

A few mornings afterwards, as the Corporal was preparing 
to sally forth, he was stopped by Marcelle. 

" Where are you going ? " she said, placing herself in his 
way. 

She was very pale, and there was a red mark around her 
eyes as if she had been crying. 

" I am going down to old Plouet to get shaved," said the 



" VIVE LE ROI!" 393 

Corporal ; " and I shall hear the news. Soul of a crow ! 
what is the matter with the girl ? Why do you look at me 
like that ? " 

Marcelle, without replying, gazed imploringly at her mother 
and at Gildas, who were standing on the hearth — the former 
agitated, like her daughter, the latter phlegmatically chewing 
a straw. Wheeling round to them, the Corporal continued 
— " Is there anything wrong ? Speak, if that is so ! " 

" There is bad news," answered the widow, in a low voice. 

" About Hoel ! " 

The widow shook her head. 

" Do not go out this morning," said Marcelle, crossing 
the kitchen and quietly closing the door. As she did so, 
there came from without a loud sound of voices cheering, 
and simultaneously there was a clatter as of feet running 
down the road. 

"What is that?" cried the Corporal. " Something has 
happened. Speak ! do not keep me in suspense." 

He stood pale and trembling ; and as he stood the finger of 
age was heavy upon him, marking every line and wrinkle in 
his powerful face, making his cheeks more sunken, his eyes 
more darkly dim. A proud man, he had suffered tormenting 
humiliations of late, and had missed much of the respect 
and sense of power which had formerly made his life worth 
having. Add to this, the fact already alluded to, that his 
physical health had been quietly breaking, and it is easy to 
understand why he looked the ghost of his old self. 

But the veteran's nature was aquiline ; and an eagle, even 
in sickness and amid evil fortune, is an eagle still. 

" Speak, Gildas ! " he said. " You are a man, and these 
are only women. What is the meaning of all this ? Why 
do they seek to detain me in the house ?" 

Gildas mumbled something inarticulate, and nudged his 
mother with his elbow. At that moment the cheering was 
repeated. Some gleam of the truth must have flashed upon 
the Corporal, for he grew still paler and increased his ex- 
pression of nervous dread. 



394 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" I will tell you, uncle," cried Marcelle, " if you will not 
go out. They are proclaiming the King ! " 

Proclaiming the King ? So far as the Corporal is concerned 
they might almost as well proclaim a new God. Have the 
heavens fallen ? Sits the sun still in his sphere ? The 
Corporal stared and tottered like a man stupefied. Then, 
setting his lips tight together, he strode towards the door. 

" Uncle ! " cried Marcelle, interposing. 

" Stand aside ! " he cried in a husky voice. " Don't make 
me angry, you women. I am not "a child, and I must see 
for myself. God in Heaven ! I think the world is coming 
to an end." 

Throwing the door wide open, he walked into the street. 

It was a bright spring morning, much such a morning as 
when, about a year before, he had cheerily sallied forth at 
the head of the conscripts ! The village, long since recovered 
from the effects of the inundation, sparkled in the sunshine. 
The street was quite empty, and there was no sign of any 
neighbour bustling about, but as he paused at the door he 
again heard the sound of shouting far up the village. 

Determined to make a personal survey of the state of 
affairs, Derval stumped up the street, followed closely by 
Gildas, whom the women had besought to see that his uncle 
did not get into trouble. In a few minutes they came in sight 
of a crowd of people of both sexes, who were moving hither 
and thither as if under the influence of violent excitement. 
In their midst stood several men, strangers to the Corporal, 
who were busily distributing white cockades to the men and 
white rosettes to the girls. These men were well dressed, and 
one had the air of a gentleman : and indeed he was Le Sieur 
Marmont, proprietor of a neighbouring chateau, but long an 
absentee from his possessions. 

Then Derval distinctly heard the odious cry, again and 
again repeated — " Vive le Roi / Vive le Roi ! " 

The nobleman, who was elegantly clad in a rich suit of 
white and blue, had his sword drawn : his wrinkled face was 
full of enthusiasm. 



" VIVE LE ROI!" 395 

a Vive le Roi ! Vive le Sieur Marmont / " cried the voices. 

Among the crowd were many who merely looked on smil- 
ing, and a few who frowned darkly ; but it was clear that the 
Bonapartists were in a terrible minority. However, the busi- 
ness that was going forward was quite informal — a mere piece 
of preparatory incendiarism on the part of Marmont and his 
friends. News had just come of the Royalist rising in Paris, 
and the white rose had already begun to blossom in every 
town. 

" What is all this ? " growled the Corporal, elbowing his 
way into the crowd. " Soul of a crow ! what does it mean ? " 

" Have you notheard the news ? " shrieked a woman. " The 
Emperor is dead, and the King is risen." 

The nobleman, whose keen eye observed Derval in a 
moment, stuck a cockade of white cotton on the point of his 
sword, and pushed it over politely across the intervening 
heads. 

" Our friend has not heard," he said with a wicked grin. 
" See, old fellow, here is a little present. It is not true that 
the usurper is dead, but he is dethroned — so we are crying 
' Vive le Roi. ' " 

Many voices shouted again ; and now the Corporal recog- 
nised, talking to a tall priest-like man in black who kept close 
to Marmont, his little friend the cure. 

u It is a lie ! " he cried, fixing his eye upon Marmont. " A 
bas les Bourbons / d das les emigres ! '' 

The nobleman's face flushed, and his eye gleamed fiercely. 

" What man is this ?" he asked between his set teeth. 

" Corporal Derval ! " cried several voices simultaneously. 
The tall priest, after a word from Father Rolland, whispered 
to Marmont, who curled his lips and smiled contemptuously. 

" If the old fool were not in his dotage," he said, " he would 
deserve to be whipped ; but we waste our time with such 
canaille! Come, my friends, to the chapel — let us offer a 
prayer to Our Blessed Lady, who is bringing the good King 
back." 

The Corporal who would have joined issue with the very 



396 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

fiend when his blood was up, uttered a great oath, and, 
flourishing his stick, approached the nobleman. The villagers 
fell back on either side, and in a moment the two were face 
to face. 

"A bas le Roi/" thundered the Corporal. "A bas les 
emigres ! " 

Marmont was quite pale now, with anger, not fear. Draw- 
ing himself up indignantly, he pointed his sword at the Cor- 
poral's heart. 

" Keep back, old man, or I shall hurt you ! " 

But before another syllable could be uttered the Corporal, 
with a sabre-cut of his heavy stick, had struck the blade with 
such force that it was broken. 

"A bas le Roi/" he cried, purple with passion. " Vive 
r Empereur I " 

This was the signal for general confusion. The Royalist, 
furious at the insult, endeavoured to precipitate himself on 
his assailant, but was withheld by his companions, who 
eagerly besought him to be calm ; while the Corporal, on his 
side,found himself the centre of a shrieking throng of villagers, 
some of whom aimed savage blows at his unlucky head. It 
would doubtless have gone ill with him had not Gildas and 
several other strong fellows fought their way to his side and 
diligently taken his part. A melee ensued. Other Bona- 
partists sided with the minority ; blows were freely given and 
taken ; cockades were torn off and trampled on the ground. 
Fortunately, the combatants were not armed with any dan- 
gerous weapons, and few suffered any serious injuries. At 
the end of some minutes the Corporal found himself standing 
half stunned, surrounded by his little party, while the crowd 
of Royalist sympathisers, headed by Marmont, was proceed- 
ing up the road in the direction of the Chapel. 

When the Corporal recovered from the full violence of his 
indignation his heart was very sad. The sight of the noble- 
man and his friends was ominous, for he knew that these gay- 
plumaged birds only came out whin the air was very loyal in- 



" VIVE LE J? 01!" 397 

Jeed. He knew, too, that M arm ont, although part of his 
estates had been restored to the family by the Emperor, had 
long been a suspected resident abroad ; and it was quite 
certain that his presence there meant that the Bonapartist 
cause had reached its lowest ebb. 

Hastening down into the village, and into the house of 
Plouet the barber, the veteran eagerly seized the journals, and 
found there such confirmation of his fears as turned his heart 
sick and made his poor head whirl wildly round. Tears stood 
in his old eyes as he read, so that the old horn-spectacles were 
again and again misted o'er. 

" My Emperor ! my Master ! " he murmured ; adding to 
himself, in much the same words that the great heart-broken 
King of Israel used of old, " Would to God I might die for 
thee ! " 




CHAPTER XLIX. 

THE CORPORAL'S CUP IS FULL. 

r BOUT the beginning of the month of April a 
strange rumour spread over France, causing 
simple folk to gaze at each other aghast, as if 
the sun were falling out of heaven. It was re- 
ported, on good authority, that the Emperor 
had attempted suicide. 

The rumour was immediately contradicted, but not before 
it had caused grievous heart-ache to many a hero-worshipper, 
and, among others, to our Corporal. It seemed so terrible 
that he who had but lately ruled the destinies of Europe 
should now be a miserable being anxious to quit a world of 
which he was weary> "hat to some minds it was simply incon- 
ceivable. If this thin^ was true, if indeed Bonaparte was at 
last impotent, and uporj his knees, then nothing was safe — 
neither the stars in their spheres, nor the solid earth revolv- 
ing in its place — for Chaos was come. 

How strange, and yet how brief had been the glory of the 
man ! It seemed but the other day that he was a young 
general, with all his laurels to win. What a Drama had been 
enacted in the few short hours since then ! And already the 
last scene was being played — or nearly the last. 

It seemed, however, as if the Earth, released from an in- 
tolerable burthen, had begun to smile and rejoice ; for the 
primrose had arisen, and the wild roses were lighting their 



THE CORPORAL'S CUP IS FULL. 399 

red lamps at the sun, and the birds were come back again to 
build along the great sea-wall. Clear were the days and 
bright, with cool winds and sweet rains ; so that Leipsic and 
many a smaller battle-field, well manured by the dead, were 
growing rich and green, with the promise of abundant 
harvest. 

On such a day of spring Corporal Derval sat on the cliffs 
overlooking the sea, with a distant view of Kromlaix basking 
in the light. By his side, distaff in hand, sat Marcelle, a clean 
white coif upon her head and shoes on her shapely feet. She 
had coaxed her uncle out that day to smell the fresh air and 
to sit in the sun, for he had been very frail and irritable of 
late, and had become a prey to the most violent despondency. 
He was not one of those men who love Nature, even in a 
dumb unconscious animal way, and, although the scene 
around him was very fair, he did not gladden. Sweeter to 
him the sound of fifes and drums than the soft singing of the 
thrush I As for prospects, if he could only have seen, coming 
down the valley, the gleam of bayonets and darkness of ar- 
tillery, that would have been a prospect indeed ! 

He was very silent, gazing moodily down at the village and 
over the sea, while Marcelle watched him gently, only now 
and then saying a few commonplace words. They had sat 
thus for hours, when suddenly the Corporal started as if he 
had been shot, and pointed up the valley. 

" Look ! what's that ? " 

Marcelle gazed in the direction indicated, but saw nothing 
unusual. She turned questioningly to her uncle. 

" There ! at the Chapel," he cried, with peevish irritation. 
" Do you not see something white ?" 

She gazed again, and her keen eyes at once detected — what 
his feebler vision had only dimly guessed — that a flag was 
flying from a pole planted above the belfry of the little build- 
ing. A Flag, and white ! She knew in a moment what it 
betokened, and, though a sharp pain ran through her heart, 
her first fear was for her uncle. She trembled, but did not 
answer. 



400 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

The old man, violently agitated, rose to his feet, gazing at 
the Chapel as at some frightful vision. 

" Look again ! " he cried. " Can you not see ? What is 
it, Marcelle ? " 

Marcelle rose, and, still trembling, gazed piteously into his 
face. Her eyes were dry, her lips set firm, her cheeks pale 
as death. She touched her uncle on the arm, and said in a 
low voice — 

" Come, uncle ; let us go home." 

He did not stir, but drawing himself to his height and shad- 
ing his eyes from the sun, he looked again with a face as 
grimly set as if he were performing some terrible military 
duty. 

" It is white, and it looks like a flag," he muttered, as if 
talking to himself. " Yes, it is a flag, and it stirs'in the wind." 
He added after a minute, " It is the White Flag ! — some 
villain has set it there ! " 

Just then there rose upon the air the sound of voices 
cheering, followed by a short report as of guns firing. Then 
he distinguished, flocking on the road near the Chapel, a 
dark crowd of people moving rapidly hither and thither. It 
was clear that something extraordinary had occurred ; and, 
indeed, Marcelle knew perfectly the true state of affairs, and 
had for that reason among others coaxed the veteran out of 
harm's way. That very morning orders had arrived from St. 
Gurlott to hoist the Bourbon fleur de lys on the chapels of 
Kromlaix. Bonaparte's last stake was lost, and the heir of 
legitimate Kings was hourly expected in Paris. 

Corporal Derval had known that it was coming — the last 
scene, the wreck of all his hope ; but his faith had kept firm 
to the last, and he had listened eagerly for the sign that the 
lion had burst the net and that the enemies of France — for 
such he held all the enemies of the Emperor — were over- 
thrown. He was not a praying man, but he had prayed a 
good deal of late ; prayed indeed that God might perfect a 
miracle and " resurrect " the Empire. So the sight of the 
emblem of despair, which it certainly was to him, caused a 



THE CORPORAL'S CUP IS FULL. 401 

g/eat shock to his troubled heart. He stood gazing and 
panting and listening, while Marcelle again sought to lead 
him away. 

" A bas le Bourbon ! " he growled mechanically ; then 
shaking his hand menacingly at the flag, he said, " If there is 
no other man to tear thee down, /will do it, for the Emperor's 
sake. I will trample on thee as the Emperor will trample on 
the King, thy master ! " 

Marcelle did not often cry, but her eyes were wet now : 
even wrath was forgotten in pity for the idol of her faith. 
Despite her uncle's fierce words she saw that his spirit was 
utterly crushed, that his breast was heaving convulsively, and 
that his voice was broken. She bade him lean upon her 
arm to descend the hill ; but, trembling and in silence, he 
sat down again on the green grass. Just then, however, they 
heard footsteps behind them, and Marcelle, looking over her 
shoulder, recognised no other than Master Arfoll. 

Now, if at that moment she would have avoided one man 
more than another, that man was the itinerant schoolmaster. 
His opinions were notorious, and he was associated in hei 
mind with revolt and irreverence of the most offensive kind. 
His appearance at that particular time was specially startling 
and painful. He seemed come for the purpose of saying, "I 
prophesied these things, and you see they have come true." 

Marcelle would gladly have escaped, but Master Arfoll 
was close upon them. Just as the Corporal, noticing her 
manner, turned and saw who was following, Master Arfoll 
came up quietly with the usual salutation. He seemed paler 
and more spectre-like than ever, and his face scarcely lighted 
up into its usual smile. 

As he recognised him, the veteran frowned. He too felt 
constrained and vexed at the schoolmaster's presence. 

Just then the sound of shouting and firing again rose upon 
his ears. A constrained silence ensued, which was at last 
broken again by Master Arfoll's voice. 

" Great changes are taking place, my Corporal. Here you 
live so far out of the world that much escapes you, and the 



402 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

journals are full of lies. It is certain, however, that tne Em- 
peror has abdicated." 

Marcelle turned an appealing look on the speaker, as if 
beseeching him to be silent, for she feared some outburst on 
the part of the Corporal. Derval, however, was very quiet ; 
he sat still, with lips set tight together, and eyes fixed on the 
ground. At last he said grimly, fixing his hawk-like eye on 
Arfoll— 

" Yes, there are great changes ; and you ... do you too 
wear the white cockade ? " 

Master Arfoll shook his head. 

" I am no Royalist," he replied ; u I have seen too much of 
Kings for that. The return of the Bourbon will be the return 
of all the reptiles whom the Goddess of Liberty drove out of 
France ; we shall be the sport of parvenus and. the prey of 
priests ; there will be peace, but it will be ignominious, and 
we shall still ask in vain for the Rights of Man." 

The Corporal's eye kindled, his whole look expressed 
astonishment. After all, then, Master Arfoll was not such a 
fool as had been supposed ; if he could not appreciate the 
Emperor, he could at least despise King Louis. Without 
expressing surprise in any direct way, Derval said, as if wish- 
ing to change the subject — 

" You have been a great stranger, Master Arfoll. It is 
many months since you dropped in." 

" I have been far away," returned the itinerant, seating 
himself by the Corporal's side. " You will wonder when I 
tell you that I have been to the great City itself." 

" To Paris ! " ejaculated the Corporal, while Marcelle 
looked as astonished as if Master Arfoll had said that he had 
visited the next world. 

"I have a kinsman at Meaux, and I was sent for to close 
his eyes ; he had no other friend on earth. While I was 
there, the Allies marched On Paris, and I beheld all the hor- 
rors of the war. My Corporal, it was a war of devils ; both 
sides fought like fiends, and between them both the country 
was laid waste. The poor peasants fled to the woods, and 



THE CORPORAL'S CUP IS FULL. - 403 

hid themselves in caves, and the churches were full of women 
and children. You could see the fires of towns and villages 
burning day and night. No man had any pity for his neigh- 
bour, and the French conscripts were as cruel to their own 
countrymen as if they themselves were Cossacks or Croats. 
Fields and farms, the abodes of man and beast, all were laid 
waste, and in the night great troops of hungry wolves came 
out and fed on the dead.'' 

" That is war," said the Corporal, nodding his head phleg- 
matically, for he was well used to such little incidents. 

"At last, with many thousands more, I found my way into 
the great City, and there I remained throughout the siege. 
Those were days of horror ! While the defenders were busy 
fighting, the outcasts of the earth came out of their dark dens 
and filled the streets, shrieking for bread ; they were as thick 
and loathsome as vermin crawling on a corpse ; and' when 
they were denied, murder was often done. Ah, God ! they 
were mad ! I have seen a mother, maniacal with starvation, 
dash out her babe's brains on the pavement of the street ! 
Well, it was soon over, and I saw the great allied armies 
march in. Our people cheered and embraced them as they 
entered — many fell upon their knees and blessed them — and 
some strewed flowers." 

" Canaille /" hissed the Corporal between his teeth, which 
he ground together viciously. 

" Poor wretches, they knew no better, and if they were 
wrong, God will not blame them. But all this is not what I 
wished to tell you ; it is something which will interest you 
more. I saw the Emperor — at Fontainebleau." 

" The Emperor ! " repeated Derval in a low voice, not 
lifting his eyes. His face was very pale, and during the de- 
scription of the siege he had with difficulty suppressed his 
agitation. For all this sorrow and desolation meant only one 
thing to him — his Idol was overthrown. The entry of the 
Allies into Paris, and their welcome by the excited populace, 
was only a final proof of human perfidy — of national treach- 
ery to the greatest and noblest of beings. All had fallen 



404 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORL 

away from the " Little Corporal ; " all but those who, like 
Derval, were impotent to help him. Yet the sun still shone. 
Yet the heavens were still blue, the earth still green ! And 
there — ah, God of Battles ! — they were upraising the White 
Lily, the abominable Fleur de lys I 

By this time Marcelle, too, was seated on the sward close 
to her uncle's feet, and her eyes were raised half eagerly, half 
imploringly, to Master ArfolPs face. Very beautiful indeed 
she looked that day, though paler and somewhat thinner than 
on the day, about a year before, when she had first heard 
Rohan Gwenfern's confession of love. She, too, was eager 
to hear what an eye-witness had to say of him whom she still 
passionately adored. 

" It was a memorable day," said Master Arfoll ; "the day 
of his adieu to the Old Guard.'' 

He paused a moment, gazing sadly and thoughtfully out 
seaward, while the Corporal's heart began to beat violently 
as at the roll-call of drums. The very name of the Imperial 
Guard touched the fountain of tears deep hidden in his breast. 
His bronzed cheek flushed, his lips trembled. Quietly, al- 
most unconsciously, Marcelle slipped her hand into his, and 
he held it softly as he listened on. 

" I will tell you the truth, my Corporal. When I saw the 
Guard called out, I was grieved, for they were a sorry show ; 
many were quite ragged, and others were sick and ill. They 
were drawn up in a line close to the Palace, and they waited 
a long time before he appeared. At last he came, on horse- 
back, with the brave Macdonald by his side, and other 
generals following ; and at his appearance there was so great 
a shout it seemed bringing down the skies. He came up 
slowly, and dismounted ; then he held up his hand ; and 
there was dead silence. You could have heard a pin drop. 
He wore his old overcoat and cocked hat ; I should have 
known him anywhere, from the pictures." 

" How did he look ? " asked the Corporal. " III ? Pale ? 
— but there, he was always that ! " 

" I was very close, and I could see his face ; it was quite 



THE CORPORAL'S CUP IS FULL. 405 

yellow, and the cheeks hung heavily, and the eyes were 
leaden-coloured and sad. But when he approached the 
ranks he smiled, and you would have thought his face made 
of sunshine ! I never saw such a smile before — it was god- 
like ! I say this, though he was never god of mine. Then 
he began to speak, and his voice was broken, and the tears 
rolled down his cheeks." 

"And he said ? — he said ? " gasped the Corporal, his voice 
choked with emotion. 

" What he said you have perhaps read in the journals, but 
words cannot convey the look, the tone. He said that France 
had chosen another ruler, and that he was content, since his 
only prayer was for France ; that some day perhaps, he 
would write down the story of his battles for the world to read. 
Then he embraced Macdonald, and called aloud for the Im- 
perial Eagle ; and when the standard was brought he kissed 
it a hundred times. . . , Corporal, my heart was changed at 
that moment, and I felt that I could have died to serve him. 
He is a great man ! . . . A wail rose from the throats of the 
Guard, and every face was drowned in tears ; old men wept 
like little children ; many cast themselves upon their knees 
imploring him not to forsake them. The ranks broke like 
waves of the sea. Marshal Macdonald hid his face in his 
hands and almost sobbed aloud, and several generals drew 
their swords and shouted like men possessed, Vive VEm- 
■pereur ! This lasted only for a little ; then it was all over. 
He mounted his horse, and rode slowly and silently away." 
Master Arfoll added in a solemn voice — • 
" That night he left his palace, never to return." 
Silence ensued ; then suddenly Marcelle, who had been 
sitting spell-bound listening, uttered a wild cry, with her eyes 
fixed in terror on her uncle. As she did so, the Corporal, 
without a word or a sign, dropped his chin upon his breast, 
and fell forward upon his face. 

"He is dead ! he is dead!" cried Marcelle, as Master 

Arfoll raised the insensible form in his arms. And indeed 

2 D 



406 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

the hue of death was on the Corporal's cheeks, and his 
features were drawn and fixed as if after the last agony. 
Casting herself on her knees, and chafing his hand in hers, 
Marcelle called upon him passionately and in despair. Many 
minutes elapsed, however, before there came any change. 
At last, he stirred, moaned feebly, and opened his eyes. 
When he did so his look was vacant, and he seemed like one 
who talks in sleep. 

" It is an epilepsy," said Master Arfoll gently ; "we must 
try to get him home.'' 

"Who's there?" murmured the old man, speaking arti- 
culately for the first time. " Is it thou, Jacques ? " Then he 
muttered as if to himself, " It is the Emperor's orders — to- 
morrow we march." 

Gradually, however, recognition came back, and he at- 
tempted in vain to struggle up to his feet. Looking round 
him wildly, he saw Marcelle's face full of tender sclicitude. 

" Is it thou, Marcelle ?" he asked. " What is wrong ?" 

" Nothing is wrong," she answered, " but you have not 
been well. Ah God, but you are better now. Master Arfoll, 
help him to rise." 

With some difficulty the Corporal was assisted to his feet ; 
even then he would have staggered and fallen but for Master 
Arfoll's help. Dazed and confused, he was led slowly down 
the hill towards his own house, which was fortunately not far 
away. As he went, the sound of firing and cheering again 
rose on his ear. He drew himself up suddenly and listened. 

" What's that ? " he said sharply. 

" It is nothing," answered Arfoll. 

" It is the enemy beginning the attack," said the Corporal 
in a low voice. " Hark again ! '' 

" Uncle ! uncle ! " cried Marcelle. 

" His thoughts are far away,'' observed Master Arfoll, " and 
perhaps it is better so " 

They walked on without interruption till they reached the 
cottage ; entering which, they placed the Corporal in the 
£veat wooden arm-chair, where he sat like one in a dream. 



THE CORPORAL 'S CUP IS FULL. 407 

Yvhile the widow brought vinegar to wet his hands and fore- 
head, Marcelle turned eagerly to Arfoll, and sought his ad- 
vice as to the course next to be taken. 

" If something is not done soon, he will surely die." 

" There is but one way," said the schoolmaster ; "he must 
be bled at once." 

Ten minutes later Plouet, the village barber, who added to 
his other avocations that of village surgeon and leech, came 
briskly up the street with lance and basin, and having pro- 
cured clean linen from the widow, proceeded dexterously to 
open a vein. Plouet, a little weazel-like man of fifty, was an 
old crony of the Corporal, and attended to the case con 
amove. 

" I have said always," he explained, as the blood was flow- 
ing gently into his basin, "that the Corporal was too full- 
blooded ; besides, he is a man of passion, look you, and 
passion is dangerous, for it mounts to the brain. But see, he 
stirs already." . . . And, indeed, before an ounce of the vital 
stream had been taken away, the Corporal drew a great 
breath, and looked around him with quite a different ex- 
pression, recognising everybody and understanding the situa- 
tion. With the assistance of Plouet, he was got to bed ; and 
when there he soon sank into a heavy slumber. 

" Let him not be disturbed," said the phlebotomist, as he 
washed his hands. " The sounder he sleeps the better, and 
I will look round and see him in the morning." 

" His heart is broken ! " cried Marcelle, weeping on her 
mother's bosom. " He will die ! " 

" He thinks too much of the Emperor," said Gildas, "but 
the Emperor would not fret for him, let me tell you. Emperor 
or King, it is one to me ; but I knew it was all up when he 
lost Marshal Ney." 

They were alone in the kitchen, talking in whispers. Night 
had come, and beyond the village were burning large bonfires, 
the signals for general rejoicing. They had no lamp, for the 
Corporal lay in the lit clos in *hs corner, and they were afraid 



4o8 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

of dazzling his eyes and disturbing his rest. Ever and anon 
they heard the sound of footsteps hastening up or down the 
street, sometimes accompanied with shouting and singing ; 
and it was clear that the village was full of excitement. 

" They are keeping it up," said Gildas ; and, after fidgeting 
uneasily for some time, he took his hat and sauntered forth. 
He knew one or two choice spirits who might be disposed to 
be convivial, and he had no objection to join them. 

An hour passed on. The sounds continued, but still the 
Corporal slept peacefully. At last Marcelle rose with a weary 
sigh. 

" I cannot rest," she said. " You will not want me, mother, 
and I will go and see what they are doing." 

So saying, after one last loving look at her uncle, to see 
that he was quite at rest, she drew her cloak round her, and 
softly opening the door, slipped out into the night. 



CHAPTER L. 



THE HERO OF THE HOUR. 




HE Chapel was illuminated ; all along the hill- 
sides bonfires were burning, and at the mast- 
heads of many of the fishing boats in the bay 
swung coloured lamps. The cabaret was 
crammed full of those thirsty souls who find 
in any public event, glad or sad, an excuse for moistening 
their throats and muddling theii brains. The white flag still 
waved on the Chapel, and the crimson rays issuing from the 
windows lit up its golden fieur de lys. 

The street was quite deserted as Marcelle stepped forth. 
The night wind blew coldly, and a fresh scent swept in from the 
sea. For some minutes she stood outside the door, gazing 
out towards the dark ocean ; then, with a soft sigh, she walked 
up the street. Her heart was very heavy that night, for all 
things seemed against her. The great good Emperor had 
fallen from his throne, and fickle men, forgetful of all his great- 
ness, were already proclaiming a new King ; while here at 
Kromlaix, on her own hearth, the shadow of doom had also 
fallen, and her uncle had been stricken down. God seemed 
against her and her house ! It was like the Day of Judgment ; 
only the wicked were not being judged, and the good were 
being punished instead of the bad. 

Curiosity drew her towards the Chapel, in the neighbour- 
hood of which there seemed most noise and bustle. As she 



410 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

approached she found straggling groups of men and women 
upon the road, but it w? t s too dark for any one to recognise 
her. Most were talking and laughing merrily, and from time 
to time she heard cries of " Vive le Roi! n Each cry went 
through her heart like the stab of a knife. She had never 
felt so deserted and forlorn. Ever since she could remember 
well, the Emperor had been as the sun in heaven, gradu- 
ally arising higher and higher until he reached the Imperial 
zenith ; and though his glory had been far away, some of it 
had always reached her uncle's house, with a sort of reflected 
splendour which grew with years. Ever since she could re- 
member, her uncle had been an authority in the place, 
honoured as well as feared ; though a poor man, he had 
seemed "clothed on" with a glory surpassing riches. And 
now all was changed. The sun had set in blood,, and night 
had come indeed ; and the old veteran, forlornly clinging to 
an old faith, was ignominiously and miserably cast down. 

If she had only been born a man-child, as Uncle Ewen 
often said she should have been ! If, as it was, she could 
only do something, however little, to help the good Emperor, 
and to heal her uncle's heart ! Ah, God ! that she had a 
man's hand to tear that white abomination down ! . . . . 
She could dimly see the flag lying against the dark blue heaven, 
and her heart heaved with a fierce passion inherited from 
her father. 

Creeping along from group to group she came to the 
graveyard of the Chapel, and to her astonishment found 
it filled with an excited crowd. Great streams of light 
flowed from the Chapel windows, but many men held torches 
which threw a lurid glare on the upturned faces. Something 
particular was taking place, and some one was addressing 
the people in a loud voice. As she stood at the gate Marcelle 
beheld, standing on a high green mound in the centre of the 
crowd, a group of men, chief of whom was the Sieur 
Marmont. 

Marmont was the speaker, and his face flashed wildly in the 
light of the torches. Some gentlemen surrounding him, who 



THE HERO OF THE HOUR. 411 

looked like officers, had drawn their swords, and were waving 
them in the air, applauding his words ; and among them 
were several Priests. 

In the eyes of Marcelle, this Marmont seemed a wretch 
unfit to live ; for she remembered his terrible rencontre with 
her uncle, and his wicked seditious words. As for the 
Priests, surely God had cast them out, and filled them with a 
devilish ingratitude, otherwise they would remember how 
good the Emperor had been to them, and how he had called* 
them back to France, like the holy man he was, when the 
atheists would have banished them for ever. 

Entering the graveyard, and advancing nearer, she saw 
standing near to Marmont, but on the lower ground, so that 
his head only reached to the other's outstretched hands, the 
figure of a man. His back was turned to Marcelle, and he 
was looking up at the speaker. 

" Listen, then ! " she heard Marmont saying in a ringing 
voice. " Listen, all you who fear God and love the King ; 
and if there be one among you who blames the man, let him 
stand forward and give me the lie. I say the man was 
justified. He refused to draw sword for the Usurper : for 
this alone he was hunted down, even as the wolves of the 
woods are hunted ; and if in the despair of his heart he shed 
blood, I say he was again justified. Look at the man ! God 
above, who sees all things, could tell you what he has suffered, 
since God only has preserved him as a testimony and a sign 
against the dynasty which has fallen for ever. Look at him 
— his famished cheeks, his wasted form, his eyes still wild 
with hunger and despair. You tell me he has slain a man ; I 
tell you the Emperor who made him what he is has slain 
thousands upon thousands. You tell me he is a deserter 
and a revolter ; I tell you that he is a hero and a martyr," He 
added with an eager cry, " Embrace him, my brothers !" 

The figure so referred to did not stir ; and could Marcelle 
have seen the expression of his face, she would have noticed 
only a strange and vacant indifference. But suddenly, with 
a common impulse, the crowd began to cheer, hysterical 



412 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

women began to sob, and the man was surrounded by a 
surging mass of living beings, all stretching out arms to 
reach him. As if to avoid their touch, he stepped up on the 
mound beside Marmont, and turned his face towards 
Marcelle. 

" Rohan Gwenfern ! Rohan Gwenfern ! " they cried. 

It was Rohan, little less wretched and ragged than when 
Marcelle last beheld him on the night of the flood. He 
gazed out on the crowd like one in a dream ; and when the 
Sieur Marmont and the Priests flocked around him and 
grasped his hands, he did not seem to respond to their 
enthusiasm. Perhaps he estimated that enthusiasm at its 
worth, and knew that Marmont and his friends were only too 
glad to avail themselves of any circumstance which would 
cast discredit on the fallen Empire. Perhaps he knew also 
that the crowd was merely yielding to an excited impulse, 
and would have been as ready to tear him to pieces if 
Marmont's speech had pointed in that direction. 

He did not utter a word, but, after gazing down in silence, 
he descended the mound, and made his way straight to the 
spot where Marcelle stood. The crowd parted to make way 
for him, but continued to cheer and call his name. Almost 
immediately he was face to face with Marcelle, and his eyes 
were fixed on hers. 

" Come, Marcelle ! " he said quietly, with no other word 
of greeting, and exhibiting no surprise at her presence. 
Stretching out his hand he took hers. 

Seeing this, and recognising Marcelle, several began to 
groan. 

" It is the Corporal's niece ! A bas le Caporalf" 

" Silence I " cried the voice of the Sieur Marmont. " Let 
the man depart in peace." 

Trembling and stupefied Marcelle suffered herself to be 
led out of the churchyard. The apparition of Rohan, under 
those circumstances, had been painful beyond measure : 
for, although her first impulse had been one of joy at seeing 
him alive and strong, she had almost immediately shrunk 



. THE HERO OF THE HOUR. 413 

shuddering away. In the lurid light of that scene she beheld, 
not the playmate of her childhood and the lover of her youth, 
but the murderer of Pipriac and the enemy of the Emperor. 
Honoured by those who hated her idol, welcomed and 
applauded by those who had broken her uncle's heart, he 
could not have come back under circumstances less 
auspicious and sympathetic. Despite all that he had 
suffered, her heart hardened against him. She almost 
forgot for the moment that she had loved him, and that she 
owed him her life, in the horror of seeing him again in the 
ranks of the abominable. 

Nevertheless, in a sort of stupor, she walked on by his 
side down the dark road, until they were quite alone. He 
did not say a word, and the silence at last became so painful 
to her that she trembled through and through. Then she 
drew away her hand, and he did not attempt to detain it. It 
vas not often that Marcelle felt hysterical — she was woven 
)f too soldier-like a stuff, but she certainly did so on the 
present occasion. Her feelings had been strung up so terribly 
before the meeting, that they threatened now to overcome 
her. 

It was a dim starlight night, and she could just see the 
glimmer of her companion's face. At last, when the silence 
had become unbearable, he broke it suddenly with a laugh, 
so wild and unearthly that it made her frightened heart leap 
within her ; a laugh with no joy in it, but full of an unnatural 
excitement. Then, turning his eyes upon her, and putting 
his hand upon her arm, he said in a hoarse voice— 

" Well, it is all over, and I have come home. But where 
is your welcome, Marcelle?" 

His voice sounded so strangely that she looked at him in 
terror ; then, clinging to his arm and yielding to the tremor 
of her heart, she cried wildly — 

" Oh, Rohan, Rohan, do not think I am not glad ! We 
scarcely thought to see you alive again, and I have prayed 
for you every night as if your soul was with God, and I have 
sat with your mother and talked about you when all the others 



414 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

thought I was asleep. But all is changed, and the Emperor 
is taken prisoner, and Uncle E wen's heart is broken, and we 
are all miserable, miserable, and all this night I have prayed 
to die, to die ! " 

Entirely losing her self-command, she hid her face upon 
his arm and sobbed aloud. Strange to say, Rohan showed 
no agitation whatever, but watched her quietly till the storm 
of her pain was over, when he said in the same peculiar 
tones — 

" Why do you weep, Marcelle ? Because the Emperor is 
hunted down ? " 

She did not answer, but sobbed on. With the sharp 
fierce laugh that had startled her before, Rohan continued — 

" When I found that Christ would not help me, I went to 
Notre Dame de la Haine,andfor a long time I thought she was 
deaf too. But I prayed, and my prayers have come to pass 
— she heard me ! — within a year, within a year ! " 

Recalled to herself either by the violence of his tones of 
the strangeness of his words, Marcelle drew back and looked 
aghast in the speaker's face, which seemed wild and excited 
in the dim light. 

" Almighty God ! " she murmured, " what are you saying, 
Rohan?" 

Rohan continued in alower voice, as if talking to himself — 

" I did not expect it so soon, but I knew it must come at last ; 
old Pipriac told me that in a dream. It has been a long 
chase, but at last we have hunted him down, and now Our 
Lady of Hate will gnaw his heart, and I . .1 shall go 
home and rest, for I am tired." 

"Rohan!" 

" Yes, Marcelle." 

" Why do you talk like that ? Why are you so strange ? " 

He bent down his head and looked at her quietly. 

" Am I strange ? " he said. 

" Yes ; and I am afraid of you when you wander so." 

Rohan drew his hand across his forehead, and knitted his 
brows. 



THE HERO OF THE HOUR. 415 

"I believe you are right, Marcelle," he said, slowly, and 
with a very different manner. " Sometimes I think that I 
am not in my right mind. I have had great troubles to 
bear, and I have had so long to wait that no wonder I am 
wearied out. Do not be angry with me ; I shall be well 
soon." 

Something in his tone awoke the tears within her again, 
but she conquered herself, and took his hand. By this time 
they had reached the main street of the village and were 
not far from her uncle's door. Rohan, however, seemed 
almost unconscious where he was, so wearily was he following 
his own thoughts. 

" There is sickness in the house, or I would ask you in. 
Oh, Rohan, Uncle Ewen is very ill, and I fear that he will 
die. He is heart-broken because the Emperor is cast down." 

Rohan echoed, in a hollow voice — 

" Because the Emperor is cast down ? " 

" I know you do not love the Emperor, because you think 
he has made you suffer ; but you are wrong — he could not 
know everything, and he would pity you if he really knew. 
. . . Rohan, once more, do not think I am not glad ! . 
You are safe now." 

" Yes ; they say so," answered Rohan. 

"Your mother will be full of joy — it is a happy night for 
her. Good-bye, good-bye ! " 

She stretched out both her hands and he took them in 
his ; then he quietly drew her to his breast, and kissed her 
gently on the brow. 

" You are prettier than ever, Marcelle ! " 

He could feel the heaving of her gentle bosom, the 
trembling of her warm form ; he drew her closer, and she 
looked up into his face. 

" Rohan, do you ever pray ? '' 

He smiled strangely. 

" Sometimes. Why do you ask? " 

Her voice trembled as she replied, softly releasing herself 
from his embrace — 



4i6 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" Pray for Uncle Ewen- -that the good God may make 
him well ! " 

Then they parted, Marcelle entering the cottage, and 
Rohan moving slow'y away in the direction of his own 
home, 




CHAPTER LI. 

BREATHING-SPACE. 

'OHAN Gwenfern was right — he was quite safe 
at last, and had no cause for fear ; on the con- 
trary, his wild story, spreading over the pro- 
vince, raised him up many friends and sym- 
pathisers. Even those who had been bitterest 
against him dared not say a word. The Mayor of St Gurlott, 
who had been among the fiercest of his persecutors, openly 
proclaimed that he was a martyr, and that something ought 
to be done for him by his countrymen : a change of opinion 
which becomes intelligible when we observe that the Mayor, 
like so many others of his chameleonic species, had changed 
from tricoloured to dazzling white directly Bonaparte's cause 
became utterly hopeless. As for Pipriac's death, it was sim- 
ply "justifiable homicide ;" the savage old "burn-powder" 
had only met with his deserts. 

So Rohan sat again by his own hearth, a free man, and his 
mother's eyes brightened with joy because God had restored 
to her the child of her womb. Her happiness, however, was 
destined to be of brief duration. She soon perceived that 
Rohan was fearfully and wonderfully changed. His frame 
was bent and weakened, his face had lost its old look of 
brightness and health, his eyes were dim, and, alas ! his hair 
had in parts grown quite grey. But this was not all. The 
physical change was nothing compared to the moral and 



418 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

mental transformation. It was quite obvious that his intellect 
was to a certain degree affected by what he had undergone. 
He was subject to strange trances, when reason absolutely 
fled and his speech became positively maniacal ; and on com- 
ing out of these — they were fortunately very brief, often 
merely momentary — he was like a man who emerges from 
the shadow of the grave. At night his sleep was troubled 
with frightful dreams, and his soul was constantly travelling 
back to the time of the siege in the Cave and of Pipriac's 
death. No smile lit his once happy face. He drooped 
and sickened, and would sit whole days looking into the 
fire. 

During the long winter he had remained in hiding among 
the lonely huts of St. Lok, the inhabitants of which were 
systematic wreckers, but he was not betrayed. His brain, 
however, was kept in a constant state of tension, as he was 
liable to capture at any moment, and he had undergone great 
privations. But the circumstance which had left most mark 
upon him was Pipriac's death ; the rest he might have for- 
gotten, but this he could not shake away ; — for he was con- 
science-stricken. The world might justify him, but he could 
not justify himself. To have blood upon his hands was 
terrible, and the blood of his father's friend ! Better to have 
died! 

The whole burthen of events was too much for his delicate 
organisation. He was overshadowed with darkness as of a 
dead and a living world, and the peace of his life was poi- 
soned for ever. Mental horror and physical pain combined 
had stupefied him. He seemed still paralysed with the 
terror and the despair of those ghastly nights in the Cave. 

He saw too, but dimly as in a dream, that a moral shadow 
had arisen between his soul and that of Marcelle. His sal- 
vation had been her sorrow. His hope was her despair. 
What had lifted him up again into the light of day had stricken 
down her Uncle as into the darkness of the grave. She was 
still the same to him when they met — gentle, honest, truthful, 
and kind ; but her looks were without passion, her manners 



BREA THING-SPA CE. 419 

shrinking and subdued. She seemed of another religion, of 
a sadder, intenser faith. He had still a portion of her heart, 
but the shadow of Bonaparte had estranged her soul. 

During these days, indeed, Marcelle seemed wholly wrapped 
up in her uncle. Uncle Ewen came out of his illness brave- 
ly, only keeping his bed a few days, for he could not bear to 
lie there like a useless log ; but ever after that he was only 
the ghost of his old self — a shattered man. liable to frequent 
attacks of the same complaint, sometimes violent, but gener- 
ally having merely the character of what French physicians 
term the petit mat. Excitement of any kind now shook him 
to pieces, and the household carefully endeavoured to conceal 
from him any news which was likely to cause agitation. They 
could not, however, keep him from examining the journals — 
from following in his mind's eye the journey of Bonaparte 
from France and his arrival on the island of Elba, the pageant 
of the King's entry into the capital of France, the changes 
which were everywhere announcing the arrival of the old 
regime. Indeed, the Corporal had only to stand at his own 
door looking forth, in order to see that the spirit of things 
was marvellously transformed The Chapel bells were ever 
ringing, religious processions were ever passing, solemn cere- 
monies were ever being performed ; for the King was a holy 
King, and his family were a holy family, and Heaven could 
not be sufficiently propitiated for having overthrown the 
Usurper. 

" The locusts are overrunning the land ! " said Master 
Arfoll ; and the Corporal — who was beginning to think 
Master Arfoll a good fellow — nodded approval of the 
metaphor. 

By the " locusts," Master Arfoll meant the priests. Where 
during the Emperor's time the eye had fallen upon a military 
coat, it now fell upon a soutane. All the swarms who had 
left France with the emigres came buzzing back, and it became 
a question how to fill their mouths. The air rang with the 
names of a thousand Saints — there was one for every day 
in the week, and several for Sunday. " Te Deums " were 



420 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

said from morning to night. Brittany recovered its old 
sacred glory — chapels were repaired, forgotten shrines re- 
membered and redecorated, Calvaries rebuilt, graven images 
of the Virgin and the Saints erected at every corner. Every 
old religious ceremonial that had fallen into disuse since the 
Revolution came once more into observance. It was aston- 
ishing how rapidly the dead ideas and customs sprang up 
again : like flowers — or fungi — rising up in a night. 

All these things brought no joy to the Corporal's household, 
The widow, who was nothing if not religious, of course took 
part in most of the ceremonials, but her conduct had no 
political meaning. She had adored God and the Saints under 
Napoleon, and she adored them under King Louis. She 
had a new source of uneasiness in the continued absence of 
her son Hoel, who had made few signs for several months, 
and who ought long ago to have returned home. 

Since the changes that had taken place Marcelle disliked 
the Chapel where Father Rolland officiated, and went thither 
as seldom as possible. She could not forgive the little cure, 
for being friendly with the Sieur Marmont and the other 
Royalists ; for, although she knew he had no strong opinions 
of his own, she felt that he was certainly no friend to the 
Emperor. Instead of hearing public mass, she got into the 
habit of paying quiet visits to Notre Dame de la Garde, the 
little lonely chapel on the summit of the cliffs. Here she 
could pray in peace, for the place was seldom visited by any 
other living creature. 

Summer came, and the White Lily was golden indeed, 
shaking its glory over France, and filling all hearts with the 
hope of prosperity and peace. The great sea-wall of Brittany 
was white with happy birds, and in the green slopes above 
the grass grew and the furze shone with yellow stars ; while 
inland, across the valleys, the wheat waved, and among the 
wheat burnt the poppies like " clear bright bubbles of blood ; " 
and on the great marshes the salt crystals lay and sparkled 
in the sun, and the rivers sank low among the reeds, dwind- 
ling often to silvern threads. It was a glorious summer, and 



BREA THING-SPA CE. 42 1 

the world was turned into a garden. People forgot all their 
troubles in the rapture of living and the certainty of a good 
harvest ; only the soldiers grumbled, for their trade seemed 
done. 

One bright day Marcelle, as she issued from the little 
chapel, saw Rohan standing close by as if waiting for her to 
appear. She approached him with her old bright smile, and 
lifted up her face for his salute. He looked very pale and 
sad, but his face was quite calm and his manner gentle in the 
extreme. 

After a few words of greeting, they walked along side by 
side close to the edge of the cliffs — following the very path 
which they trod together little more than a year before. Far 
below them they saw the waters crawling, with a cream-white 
edge of foam ; and the colours of the bottom, golden with 
sand, or red with rock and weed, or black with mud, were 
clearly visible through the transparent shallows of the crystal 
sea. At last Marcelle paused, for they were walking away from 
the village. 

" I must go home," she said ; " I promised not to stay." 

Rohan turned too, and they walked slowly back towards 
the chapel. No word of love was spoken between them, but 
presently Rohan said, pointing out seaward — 

" I often wonder what he is doing and thinking — now." 

She looked at him in surprise. 

" He f of whom do you speak ? " 

" Of the Emperor. They have put him on one side, and 
he is far away from ali help or hope. They call him King of 
Elba, but that is only in jest, I suppose — for all his power is 
gone for ever." 

As Rohan spoke, his eyes were fixed as if in a trance, and 
his face grew strangely agitated. Marcelle, alarmed, walked 
on more rapidly, while he continued — 

" After all, Master Arfoll was wrong when he said that the 
Emperor was only flesh and blood like ourselves. Sometimes 
I have thought he is a spirit, a shadow like the shadow of 
God ; for it is hard to think of a man having all that upon 

2 E 



422 THE SHADOW OF THE STVOR&. 

his soul ! Thousands upon thousands of dead gathering 
round his pillow every night, and crying out his name. No 
man's heart could bear it without breaking." 

Marcelle did not quite catch the drift of the words, but 
she knew that they referred to him she deemed immaculate, 
and her heart heaved in anger ; but when she looked into 
her companion's face, which was blanched and worn as if the 
light of reason had flown, her thoughts were all pity and pain. 
So she said gently, to change the subject — 

" Uncle Ewen often asks for you — he thinks it unkind that 
you do not come to the house." 

Without replying, Rohan gave that strange low laugh 
which she had first noticed and feared on the night when 
they had met in the churchyard. As she heard it, she re- 
membered with a thrill a cruel whisper that was already going 
about the village, to the effect that Rohan Gwenfern was no 
longer in his right senses, and that at certain times he was 
dangerously violent. 

Passing the Chapel, and descending the grassy slopes, they 
soon reached the village. To Marcelle's astonishment Rohan 
remained with her until they were close to her uncle's cottage, 
and when she paused and put out her hand to say good-bye, 
he quietly said — " I shall go in with you to see uncle Ewen." 

She started, for she had not exactly expected this, and 
when she had introduced her uncle's name, it was merely 
with a view to distract Rohan's wandering attention. In her 
secret heart she had a dread of a meeting between the two 
men, lest by a stray word, a passing opinion, they might come 
again into open opposition. Thus pressed, however, she 
Could hardly make an objection ; so she merely said, with a 
pleading look — 

" Promise me, first, not to speak of the Emperor." 

Rohan, who now seemed quite calm and collected, pro- 
mised without hesitation, and in another minute they crossed 
the threshold of the cottage. They found the Corporal 
sitting in his arm-chair alone by the fireside, busily reading, 
with the aid of his spectacles, an old newspaper. 



B RE A THING-SPA CE. 42J 

Marcelle tripped first into the chamber, and, leaning over 
her uncle's chair, said, smiling — 

u I have brought you a visitor, Uncle Ewen ! See ! " 

The Corporal looked and saw Rohan standing before him, 
so worn, so grey, so strange and old, that he scarcely knew 
him. He rubbed his eyes, then blinked them in amaze. 
When recognition came he exclaimed, rising from his 
chair — 

"Is it thou, mongarzf Soul of a crow! how thou art 
changed ! I did not know thee ! " 

" Yes, Uncle Ewen, it is I ! " . said Rohan calmly ; and the 
two men shook hands, with considerable emotion on the 
part of the Corporal. 

" I will tell thee this, Marcelle — he is brave — he has the 
heart of a lion, but there is something wrong here / " 

The Corporal as he spoke tapped his forehead significantly. 
It was some weeks after that little reconciliation, and Rohan 
had since been a frequent visitor to his uncle's house. Strange 
to say, he and his uncle got on singularly well together, and 
even when the name of Bonaparte came up they had no 
disputes. The Corporal was not so dogmatic as he used to 
be, while Rohan on his part was very reticent ; so they 
promised to be excellent friends. 

The Corporal proceeded : 

"We might have guessed it when he first refused to take 
up arms. Master Arfoll is cracked, look you, and Rohan 
has caught it of him — it is as bad as the fever. Well, I freely 
forgive him all, for he is not at present in *iis right mind." 

Of course, the Corporal, an undoubted monomaniac him- 
self, had the most implicit belief possible in his own personal 
sanity. 




CHAPTER LII. 

RESURGAM ! 

»0 the summer passed, and once again the sun 
moved on to the equinox. France -was at rest, 
lulled into a drowsy doze by the sounds of 
hymns and prayers. Sceptics shook their 
heads ; revolutionists burrowed like moles, and 
threw up little mounds of conspiracy ; the Imperial Guard 
frowned with " red brows of storm ; " but the new dynasty 
lay comfortably on its padded pillow, amid a little rosy cloud 
of incense, counting its beads. As for the prisoned Lion, he 
made no sign. Restlessly and fretfully he was pacing up 
and down his narrow cage. One heard from time to time of 
his doings — his mimicry in miniature of his old glory, his 
old ambition ; but the Kings of Europe only nodded merrily 
at one another — he was safely caught, and there, on his island, 
might roar himself hoarse. 

As the months rolled on, Corporal Derval resigned himself 
to the situation, and began to speak of the Emperor with a 
solemn sorrow, as of some dead Saint who could never rise 
again. Falling into this humour, instead of crossing it, 
Rohan Gwenfern greatly rose in the estimation of the Cor- 
poral. " He is a brave man," Uncle Ewen would say, "and 
the more brave because he knows how to respect a losing 
cause ! I did him wrong ! " 

And gradually, under the softening influences which now 



RESURGAM? 425 

surrounded him, Rohan brightened into something dimly- 
resembling his old self. His cheeks were still sunken, his 
hair still sown with grey, but his frame recovered much of its 
former vigour. He began again to wander about the crags 
and upon the shore, and in these rambles Marcelle often ac- 
companied him — as when they were younger and happier. 
The Corporal approved, saying to the widow : " He saved 
her life, and it is his, little woman. Why should they not 
wed ? " And Mother Derval, whose heart was burthened 
with the new loss of her son Hoel, who never returned from 
the war, saw no reason to dissent. If the truth were told, 
the poor woman was going more and more over to the enemy. 
In her secret heart she believed not only in the Pope, and 
the Saints, and the Bishops, but in the King. Bonaparte 
had taken her children, and the priest told her he was a 
Monster ; so she prayed God that he would never rule France 
more. 

Only Marcelle Derval, perhaps, besides the mother who 
bore him, knew how it really stood with Rohan Gwenfern. 
The shock of those terrible days had struck at the very roots 
of his life, and the bloom of his spiritual nature was taken off 
for ever. Time might heal him more and more, but the pro- 
cess would be very sad and slow. His nervous system was 
deeply shaken, and his reason still trembled and tottered at 
times. 

Although he showed by countless signs that he loved his 
cousin tenderly and deeply, his affection for her seldom now 
rose into actual passion, such as had carried him away when 
he made his first half-involuntaryconfession, Therewas some- 
thing almost brotherly sometimes in his manner and in his 
tone. Yet once or twice he caught her to his breast and 
wildly kissed her, in a rush of feeling that changed him for 
the moment into a happy man. 

" She will never marry Gwenfern," said gossips at the 
Fountain ; " for he is mad." 

They little knew the nature of Marcelle. The very shadow 
which lay at times upon Rohan's mind made her more eager 



426 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

to fulfil her plight. Moreover, she had strong passions, 
though these had been lulled to sleep by solemn thoughts 
and fears ; and the strongest passion in her soul was her love 
for her cousin. 

Mikel Grallon now seldom crossed her path ; he knew 
better than to provoke the wrath of the man he had persecuted. 
A zealous adherent of the new regime, he carefully avoided 
the Corporal's house, and cast his eyes elsewhere in search 
of a fitting helpmate. 

When winter came in good earnest there was many a quiet 
gathering by the Corporal's fireside. Uncle Ewen, whom ill- 
health confined a good deal within doors, presided, and now 
and then told his memorable story of Cismone, while Gildas 
was eloquent about the exploits of Marshal Ney. Rohan, 
who was constantly present, coldly held his tongue when the 
name of Bonaparte came up, but the widow would quietly 
cross herself in the corner. After all, Uncle Ewen seemed 
only talking of a dead man : of one whose very existence had 
faded into a dream ; who was calendared, for the Corporal 
and for Marcelle, among the other departed Saints. 

One day, when the snow was on the ground, and all was 
peaceful and white and still, Rohan said to Marcelle : 

" Do you remember what you told me, long ago, that 
morning when I carried you out of the Cathedral of St. 
Gildas ? That you loved me, and that you would marry 
me." 

" I remember." 

" And will you keep your word ? " 

She hesitated for a moment ; then looking at him quietly 
with her grey truthful eyes, she answered — 

" Yes, Rohan — if Uncle Ewen is willing." 

They were standing down by the Fountain, looking at the 
sea. As Marcelle replied, her heart was touched with pity 
more than love ; for her lover's face wore a sad far-away look 
full of strange suggestions of past suffering. After a space 
he said again — 

" I am changed, Marcelle, and I think I shall never be 



RESURGAM! 427 

quite myself. Think again ! There are many others who 
would love you well." 

She put her hand gently in his. 

" But I love you, Rohan," she replied. 

That very day they told the Corporal, and he cheerfully 
gave them his blessing. Father Rolland was spoken to by 
the widow, and readily undertook to procure the assent of the 
Bishop, which was necessary to complete a marriage between 
cousins. When the affair was bruited about the village many 
shook their heads — Mikel Grallon particularly. " The Bishop 
should interfere," said honest Mikel ; " for, look you, the man 
is dangerous." 

The Bishop, however made no obstacle, and it was ar- 
ranged that the marriage should take place in the spring. 

Early in March, 1815, Rohan Gwenfern entered the cottage 
and found Marcelle alone in the kitchen. She was dressed 
in a white gown, and was busy at some household work. As 
he entered, she walked up to him confidently and held up 
her lips to receive his kiss. 

" Spring is come indeed,'' he said, looking quite radiant 
" Look, Marcelle, I have brought this for a sign." 

In Brittany they measure the seasons by flowers and birds 
and other natural signs, as much as by Saints' days and holi- 
days ; and it had been arranged that these two should be 
married in spring, when " the violet came." Marcelle blushed 
deep crimson, but took the flower gently and put it in her 
breast. Then, as Rohan folded his arms around her, she 
leant her head upon his shoulder, and looked up, radiant, 
into his face. 

Suddenly, as they stood there full of happiness, the door 
was dashed open, and Uncle Ewen tottered in, reeling like a 
drunken man. He held a newspaper in his hand and his 
face was white as death. 

" Marcelle ! Rohan ! " he gasped. " Here is news.'' 

" What is the matter ? " cried Marcelle, releasing herself 
from Rohan's arms. 



428 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Uncle Ewen waved the newspaper ecstatically round his 
head. 

" A bas les Bourbons ! " he cried, with something of his old 
vigour. "On the ist of March the Emperor landed at 
Cannes, and he is now marching on Paris. VIVE 
l'Empereur ! " 

As the Corporal spoke the words, Rohan threw his arms 
up into the air, and shrieked like a man shot through the 
heart ! 



CHAPTER LIU. 




" IBI OMNIS EFFUSUS LABOR !" 

^HE news of the Emperor's escape was, as all the 
world knows, only too true. After months of 
cunning preparation, during which he had 
affected all the virtues of a Cincinnatus harm- 
lessly contemplating his own acres, Bonaparte 
had at last slipped out of his cage (the captors had taken care 
to leave the door very wide open), and was again on French 
soil at the head of a thousand men. To use the expressive 
language of the French pulpit, " The Devil had again broken 
loose." White-stoled priests might thunder from a thousand 
shrines, but what did Satanus care ? 

On Rohan Gwenfern the news came like a thunderbolt, 
and literally smote him down. As a man scorched by light- 
ning, but still breathing, gazes panting at the black wrack 
whence the fiery levin has fallen, he lay in horror looking up- 
ward. To him this resurrection of the Execrable meant out- 
lawry, misery, despair, and death. What was God doing that 
He suffered such a thing to be ? With the passing away of 
the Imperial pest, quiet and rest had come to France, bring- 
ing a space of holy calm, when men might breathe in peace ; 
and to Rohan, among others, the calm had looked as if it 
might last for ever. Slowly and quietly the man's tortured 
mind had composed itself, until the dark marks of suffering 
were obscured if not obliterated ; every happy day seemed 



43° THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

furthering the cure of that spiritual disease to which the man 
was a martyr ; and at last he had had courage enough to 
reach out his hands to touch once more the sacramental cup 
of love. At that very moment, when God seemed to be mak- 
ing atonement to him for his long and weary pains, Heaven 
was obscured again, and the cruel bolt struck him down. 

While Europe was shaken as by earthquake, while Thrones 
tottered again, and Kings looked aghast at one another, 
Rohan trembled like a dead leaf ready to fall. He was in- 
stantly transformed ; before the sun could set again upon his 
horror, he seemed to have grown very old. 

Our Lady of Hate had answered his prayer indeed, but in 
how mocking a measure. She had struck the Avatar down, 
only to uplift him again to his old seat. " Within a year ! " 
It seemed as if she had given the world a brief glimpse of 
rest, only that its torture might be more terrible when the 
clouds closed again. 

At first, indeed, there was little hope. The priests thun- 
dered and prayed, the Royalists swaggered and shrugged 
their shoulders, as much as to say, " This little business will 
soon be settled ! " But every bulletin brought fresh confirma- 
tion of the true state of affairs. Bonaparte had not only riser, 
again, but the waves of the old Storm were rising with him. 

On one figure Rohan gazed with horror as great as filled 
him when he thought of the Emperor. This was the figure 
of Corporal Derval. It seemed as if the news of the uprising 
had filled the Corporal with new life. Colossus-like, he again 
bestrode his own hearth ; assumed the Imperial pose ; cocked 
his hat jauntily ; looked the world in the face. His cheeks 
were alike sunken and yellow, his eyes dim, but this only 
made more prominent the fiery and natural redness of nose 
and brows. He was weak upon his legs, but his right arm 
performed the old sweep when he took snuff, & V Empereiir. 
No looking down now, as he hied down to little Plouet's to 
read the journals. His Master had arisen, and he himself 
had arisen. Oh, to march at the double, and to join the little 
Corporal on the open field ! 



"IBI OMNIS EFFUSUS LABOR!" 431 

As the smallest village pond becomes during the storms 
and rains of equinox, a miniature of the Ocean— overflows its 
banks, breaks into strong waves, darkens, brightens, trembles 
to its depth, even so did the Corporal's breast reflect in 
miniature the Storm which was just seen sweeping over 
France. A very poor affair indeed might his commotion seem 
in the eye of the great political leaders of the hour, just as 
their commotion, in their eyes oceanic, might seem a mere 
pond-business from the point of view of God or a philosopher. 
The microcosm, however, potentially includes the macrocosm ; 
and the spirit of Bonaparte was only the spirit of Corporal 
Derval indefinitely magnified. 

Kromlaix was Royalist still, and indeed it had been so from 
time immemorial. The movements of the Corporal were re- 
garded with no sympathy and little favour. There was a 
general disposition to knock the old fellow on the head — a 
deed which would have been done, if he had not reserved his 
more violent ebullitions of enthusiasm for his own fireside. 
Here, legs astride, snuff-box in hand, he thundered at Gildas, 
who wanted the Emperor to win, but thought his case hope- 
less, owing to the fact that Marshal Ney was for the King ! 
But when the great news came that Ney had gone over with 
his whole army, and had flung himself into the arms of his 
old master, uncle and nephew embraced with tears, avowing 
that the Imperial cause was as good as won ! 

Coming and going like a shadow, Rohan listened for a 
word, a whisper, to show him that there was still a chance. 
But every day darkened his hopes. Wherever the feet of 
Bonaparte fell, armies seemed to spring up from the solid 
earth ; and from vale to vale ran the sound of his voice, 
summoning up a hidden harvest of swords. 

In this time of terrible epidemic the contagion spread 
even to Marcelle ; and this was the hardest of all to bear. 
A new fire burnt in her eyes, a new flush dwelt upon her 
cheek. When the old man delivered his joyful harangues 
she listened eagerly to every word, and her whole nature 
seemed transformed. Rohan watched her in terror, dreading 



432 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

to meet her eyes. Had she then forgotten all the horrot 
and suffering through which he had passed, and did she 
forget that this thing which caused her such joy was his 
own signal of doom ? . . . . 

... Out there among the silent crags, Rohan Gwenfern 
waited and listened. He did not wholly despair yet, though day 
by day the woeful news had been carried to his ear. He could 
not rest at home, nor at the fireside where the Corporal 
declaimed ; his only place of peace was in the heart of the 
earth whichshelteredhimbeforeintheperiodofhisperil. Since 
the tidings of the collusion between Ney and Bonaparte, he 
had scarcely spoken to Marcelle, but had avoided her in a 
weary dread. As yet no attempt had been made to lay a 
finger upon him, or to remind him of his old revolt against 
the Emperor ; men indeed were as yet too busy watching 
the progress of the great game in which Bonaparte was 
again trying to outwit his adversaries. But the call might 
come at any moment, as he knew. So he wandered on the 
shore, shivering, expectant, and afraid. 

One day a wild impulse seized him to revisit the scenes 
of his old struggle. It was calm and sunny weather, and 
entering the great Cathedral, he found it alive with legions 
of birds, who had flocked back from the south to build 
their nests and rear their young. He climbed up to the 
Trott, still full of the traces of his old struggle, and thence, 
through the dark winding passages, to the aerial chamber 
in the face of the crag. Gazing out through the window of 
the Cave, he saw again the calm Ocean crawling far beneath 
him, softly stained with red reefs and shallows of yellow 
sands ; the fishing-boats were becalmed far out on the 
glassy mirror, and the sun was shining in the heavens, like 
the smile of God. He saw the gentle scene, and thought 
of him — of that red Shadow who was again rising on the 
peaceful world ; and he wondered if God would suffer 
him still to be. As he stood a frightful thought passed 
through his brain, and his face was convulsed. He 
thought of Pipriac. and how he struck him cruelly down. 



** IB/ OMN/S EFFUSUS LABOR I" 433 

Oh, to strike that other down, to crush and kill him under- 
neath the rock of his mortal hate ! 

Later on in the day, he crawled down the dark passages 
which led to the gigantic Water-cave, and ere long he was 
hanging over the deep green pools, which showed no traces 
now of that terrible flood which transformed the Cave into 
a boiling cauldron. All was still and peaceful, full of the 
pulsations of the neighbouring sea, and a great grey seal 
swam slowly out towards the narrow passage of exit known 
as " Hell's Mouth." He passed along the narrow shelf 
communicating with the top of the Cave, and, leaping down 
upon the shingle, faced the black mouth of the Aqueduct. 
Here the storm had left its ravages indeed. The shingle 
was strewn with great fragments of earth and stone, and 
the rock all round was blackened and torn as by tooth and 
claw, with the fury of the flood. 

Advancing a little distance into the passage, he soon 
found further progress impossible, for the passage was 
choked now by all sorts of debris, which it would take many 
years to wash away. Retracing his steps, he stumbled 
over a dark mass lying upon the slippery floor. It was the 
Statue of black marble which he discovered formerly in the 
inner chamber of the Aqueduct. 

Washed from its pedestal by the unexampled fury of the 
waves, and driven like a straw downward by the force of 
the torrents, it had at last paused here, wedged in between 
the narrow walls. Black and silent it lay, still green and 
slimy with the moisture of centuries, still hideous and de- 
formed. Ave Ccesar Imperator ! As he fell in whose 
likeness thou wast fashioned, so didst thou too fall at last ! 
Sooner or later the great waters would have thee, would 
tear thee from thy place, and wash thee away towards the 
great sea. Even so they destroy Man and all his works. 
Sooner or later all shall vanish like footprints on the shore 
of that Ocean of Eternity where wander for ever shadows 
that seem to live ! 

As Rohan bent over the cast-down Image, did he think 



434 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD 

for a moment of that other Image whom men were en- 
deavouring to uplift to its old Imperial pedestal ? Did he 
see in the black bull-like head of the fallen Statue any far-off 
likeness of one who was rising out yonder in the world, 
crowned with horrible laurel, and shod with sandals of blood ! 
One might have thought so ; for he bent over it in 
fascination, dimly tracing its lineaments in the feeble green 
light that trembled from the Water-cave. It was shapen 
like a colossal human thing, and one might almost have 
regarded it as the corpse of what once was a man — nay, an 
Emperor ! But, thank God, the breath of life could never 
fill those marble veins, the light of power could never 
gleam upon that pitiless carven face ! 

When he came out into the open air, it was sunset, and 
the light dazzled and blinded him. The cold and "mildew 
and darkness of that dead world still lay upon him, and he 
shivered from head to foot. Passing out by the Cathedral, 
and ascending the stairs of St. Triffine, he made his way 
slowly along the summit of the crags. The western sky was 
purple-red and dashed with shadows of the bluff* March 
wind that was to blow next morrow ; but now, all wa's still 
as a summer eve. A thick carpet of gold and green was 
spread beneath his feet, the broom was blazing golden on 
every side, and one early star, like a primrose, was already 
blossoming in the still cool pastures of Heaven. He seemed 
to have arisen from the tomb, and to be floating in divine 
air. That dead world was, he knew ; no less surely did he 
know that this living world is too — 

" A calm, a happy, and a holy world I" 

Yet He who made the tiger makes the lamb, and the 
same strange Hand that set that star up yonder, and wrote 
on thehuman breast, " Love one another," moulded the iron 
hearts of a hundred Caesars, and once more liberated 
Bonaparte. 




CHAPTER LIV. 

THE LAST CHANCE. 

f S he passed the door of the Chapel of Notre 
Dame de la Garde, a figure emerged, and 
turned upon him a face full of horror and 
despair. It was his mother ; gaunt, white, 
terror-stricken, she looked fearfully around her 
and clutched him by the arm. He saw her message in her 
face before she spoke. 

" Fly, Rohan," she cried ; " they are out after thee again, 
and they are searching from house to house. There is 
terrible news. The Emperor is in Paris, and war is pro- 
claimed." 

The world darkened — he staggered and held his hand 
upon his heart. He had expected this, but it nevertheless 
came upon him as the lightning from Heaven. 

" Come into the Chapel ! " he cried, suiting the action 
to the word. 

Crossing the threshold they found the little building 
already full of the evening shadows. All was as it had been 
not long ago, when the lovers, after first plighting their happy 
troth, knelt before the altar. The figure of the Virgin 
stood at the altar, and the votive gifts still lay undisturbed 
at her feet ; the sailors in the picture still drifted upon their 
raft, kneeling and fixing eyes on the luminous apparition 
that rose from the waters. 



436 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD 

In a few rapid sentences, Mother Gwenfern gave further 
particulars of the situation : — The village was in a state of 
disturbance, the news of the Emperor's complete triumph 
not being yet accepted by the Royalists in the neighbour- 
hood ; but a file of gendarmes from St. Gurlott had already 
appeared hunting up deserters "in the name of the Emperor." 
Yes, that was certain, for they had searched her own house. 
The death of Pipriac was remembered, and was to be 
avenged. 

In a few brief moments was undone the gentle work of 
months. The same light which Marcelle saw and feared in 
Rohan's face that night when he returned home, the same 
light which she had dreaded often since, when her lover 
was under the influence of strong excitement, now appeared 
there and shone with a lurid flame. The man's brain was 
burning ; his heart seemed bursting. He did not speak, 
but laughed strangely to himself — hysterically, indeed, if we 
may apply the term to one of the male sex ; but in his laugh 
there was something more than hysteria, than mere nervous 
tension : there was the sign of an incipient madness which 
threatened to overthrow the reason and wreck the soul. 

" Rohan ! Rohan !" cried the terrified woman clinging to 
him, " speak ! Do not look like that ! They shall not take 
you, my Rohan ! " 

He looked at her without replying, and laughed again. 
Terrified at the expression in his face she burst into sobs 
and moans. 

Late at night Corporal Derval sat at his own hearth and 
read the journals to the widow and Marcelle. He was 
excited with the great news that had just come from Paris 
— that Europe refused to treat on amicable terms with the 
Usurper, and that the mighty hosts of the Great Powers 
were again rising like great clouds on the frontier. The 
Allied Congress sat at Frankfort, directing, as from the 
centre of a web, the movements of a million men. The 
Emperors of Russia and Austria- with the King of Prussia. 



THE LAST CHANCE. 437 

had again taken the field. England had given her character- 
istic help in the shape of thirty-six millions of money, U 
say nothing of the small contingent of eighty thousand men, 
under the Duke of Wellington. 

" The cowards !" hissed the Corporal between his clenched 
teeth. " A million of men against France and the Little 
Corporal ; but you shall see, he will make them skip. I 
have seen a little fellow of a drummer thrash a great grena- 
dier, and it will be like that ! " 

" There will be more war ?" murmured the widow question- 
ingly. And her poor heart was beating to the tune of one 
sad word, her son's name, " Hoel ! Hoel ! " 

" It is a fight for life, little woman," said Uncle Ewen with 
solemnity. " The Emperor must either kill these rascals, or 
himself be killed. Soul of a crow ! there will be no quarter ! 
They are fortifying Paris so that the enemy may never take 
it again by any stratagem. In a few days the Emperor will 
take the field." He added, with a smack of his lips, " It 
sounds like old times !" 

Knter Gildas the one-armed, with his habitual military 
swagger. He had been quenching his thirst down at the 
cabaret (it was wonderful how thirsty a mortal he had become 
since his brief military experience), and his eyes were rather 
bloodshot. 

" Has any one seen Rohan ? " he said, standing before the 
fireplace. " They are after him out there ! " 

He jerked his thumb over his shoulder towards the door, 
which he had left open. With an uneasy glance at Marcelle, 
who sat pale and trembling, the Corporal replied — 

" They called here, and I told them it would be all right. 
Rohan can redeem his credit now and for ever, and save his 
skin at the same time. There is but one plan, and he had 
better take it without delay." 

Marcelle looks up eagerly. 

" And what is that, Uncle Ewen ?" 

" Soul of a crow ! it is simple. The Emperor is in need 
of men — all the wolves of the world are against him — and he 

2 F 



438 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

who helps him now, in time of need, will make amends tor 
all the past. Let Rohan go to him, or, what is the same 
thing, to the nearest station of the grand army, saying — ' I 
am ready now to fight against the enemies of France ; ' let 
him take his place in the ranks like a brave man, — and all 
will be forgiven." 

" I am not so sure," observed Gildas. " I have been 
having a glass with the gendarme Penvenn, old Pipriac's 
friend, and he says that Rohan will be shot in spite of his 
teeth ; if so, it is a shame." 

Uncle Ewen shifted nervously in his chair, and scowled at 
his nephew. 

" Penvenn is an ass for his pains ; do you think I have no 
influence with the Emperor ? I tell you he will be pardoned 
if he will fight. What sayest thou, little one ?" he continued, 
turning to Marcelle who seemed plunged in deep thought. 
" Or is thy lover still un lache f " 

" Uncle ! " she cried with trembling lips. 

" You are right, Marcelle, and I did him wrong ; I forgot 
myself, and he is a brave man. But if he should fail us now ! 
How when Providence itself offers him a way to save himself, 
and to wipe the stain off the name he bears ! — now when the 
Little Corporal needs his help, and would welcome him, like 
the Prodigal Son, into the ranks of the Brave ! " 

As Uncle Ewen ceased, Marcelle sprang to her feet with 
an exclamation ; for there, standing in the chamber and 
listening to the speech, was Rohan himself — so changed 
already that he looked like an old man. It seemed as if the 
sudden shock had had the power to transform him to his 
former likeness of a famished hunted animal ; to make his 
physical appearance a direct image of his tortured moral 
being. Gaunt and wild, with great hungry-looking eyes 
gazing from one to another of the startled group, he stood in 
perfect silence. 

"It is himself!" cried the Corporal gasping for breath. 
" Gildas, close the door." 

It was done, and, to make all secure, Gildas drew the bcJ'- 



THE LAS7 CHANCE. 439 

The two women were soon by the side of Rohan ; the widow 
weeping, Marcelle white and tearless. Uncle Ewen rose 
to his feet, and somewhat tremulously approached his 
nephew. 

" Do not be afraid, mon gars," he exclaimed ; " they are 
after you, but I will make it all right, never fear. You have 
been refractory, but they will forgive all that when you step 
forward like a man. There is no time to lose. Cross the 
great marsh, and you will be at St. Gurlott oefore them. 
Go straight to the Rue Rose, and ask for the Capitaine 

Figuier, and tell him from me Mother of God ! " cried 

the old man, pausing in his hurried instructions, " is the 
man mad ?" 

Indeed the question seemed a very pertinent one, for 
Rohan, without seeming to hear a word of what was being 
said, was gazing wildly at the air and uttering that strange 
unearthly laugh which had more than once before appalled 
Marcelle. Trembling with terror, the girl was clinging to his 
arm, and looking into his face. 

" Rohan ! Do you not understand ! they are looking for 
you, and if you do not go in first, you will be killed ! " 

Turning his eyes upon her, he asked calmly enough, but 
in a strange hard voice — 

"If I surrender, what then ?." 

" Why then," broke in the Corporal, " it will be all for- 
gotten. They will just give you your gun and knapsack, 
and you will join the grand army, and cover yourself with 
glory ; and then, when the war is over — which will be very 
soon — back you will come like a brave man, and find my 
little Marcelle waiting for you, ready and willing to keep her 
troth." 

The old man spoke eagerly, and with a cheerfulness that 
he was far from feeling, for the look upon the other's face 
positively appalled him. Still with his eyes fixed on Mar- 
celle, Rohan asked again — 

" If I do not surrender, what then ? " 

" You will be shot," answered the Corporal, " like a dog ; 



440 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

but there — God knows you will not be so insane ! You will 
give yourself up, like a wise man and a brave." 

"Is there no other way ? " asked Rohan, still watching 
Marcelle. 

" None ! none ! You waste time, mon garz ! " 

" Yes, there is another," said Rohan in the same hard 
voice, with the same look. Then, when all eyes were 
questioningly turned towards him, he continued — 

" If the Emperor should himself die ! If he should be 
killed ! " 

Uncle Ewen started back in terror. 

" Saints of Heaven forbid ! The very thought is treason !" 
he cried, trembling and frowning. 

Without heeding his uncle, Rohan, who had never with- 
drawn his eyes one moment from Marcelle's," said in a 
whisper, as if addressing her solely, and yet communicating 
mysteriously with himself, in a sort of dream — 

" If one were to find him sleeping in the darkness alone, 
it would be a good deed ! It would be one life instead of 
thousands, and then, look you, the world would be at peace !'' 

" Rohan ! " cried Marcelle. " For the love of God ! " 

Well might she shrink from him in horror and agony, for 
the light of Murder was in his eyes. His face was distorted, 
and his hands clutched as at an invisible knife. The Cor- 
poral gazed on stupefied. He heard and dimly understood 
Rohan's words. They seemed too execrable and awful to be 
the words of any one but a raving madman. 

" Bones of St. Triffine !" murmured Gildas, "he is speak- 
ing of the Emperor ! " 

" Come from his side," cried the Corporal to Marcelle ; 
" he blasphemes — he is dangerous ! '' 

Rohan turned his white face on the speaker. 

" That is true ; but I shall not harm her, or any here. 
Good night, Uncle Ewen — I am going." And he moved 
slowly towards the door. 

" Stay, Rohan ! " cried Marcelle, clutching his arm. 

Whither are you going ? " 



THE LAST CHANCE. 441 

Without replying, he shook off her hold, and turned to 
the door, and in another moment he was gone. The Cor- 
poral uttered a despairing exclamation, and sank into his 
chair ; Gildas gave out a prolonged whistle, expressive of 
deep surprise ; the widow threw her apron over her head, 
and sobbed ; and Marcelle stood panting with her lips 
asunder, and her hand pressed hard upon her heart. So 
he left them, passing like a ghost out of sight. And when 
dawn came, and the emissaries of Bonaparte were searching 
high and low, no trace of him was to be found. 



CHAPTER LV. 




THE BEGINNING OF THE END. 

)HE scene changes for a moment. Instead of the 
arid cliffs and green pastures of "Kromlaix, 
scented with springtide and shining calmly by 
the side of the summer sea, we behold a dim 
prospect far inland, darkened with the drifting 
clouds of the rain. Through these clouds glide moving lights 
and shadows, passing slowly along the great highways : long 
processions that seem endless — columns of men that tramp 
wearily afoot, bodies of cavalry that move more lightly along, 
heavy masses of artillery, baggage- waggons, flotsam and jet- 
sam of a great host. The air is full of a deep, sea-like sound, 
broken at times by a rapid word of command, or a heavy 
roll of drums. All day the processions pass on, and when 
night comes they are still passing. Somewhere in the midst 
of them hovers the Spirit of all, silent and unseen as Death 
on his white steed. 

The Grand Army is moving towards the frontier, and 
wherever it goes the fields of growing grain are darkened, 
and no song of the birds of spring is heard. The road is 
worn into deep ruts by the heavy wheels of cannon. In the 
village streets halt the cavalry, picketing their horses in the 
open square. The land is full of that deep murmur which 
announces and accompanies war. Slowly, league by league, 
the gleaming columns advance, obedient to the lifted finger 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END. 443 

that is pointing them on. In their rear, when the main body 
has passed by, flock swarms of human kites and crows — all 
those wretches who hover in the track of armies, seeking 
what refuse they may find to devour. 

Among those who linger here and there in the track of the 
advancing columns, is a man who, to judge from his appear- 
ance, seems to have emerged from the very dregs of human 
wretchedness ; a gaunt, wild, savage, neglected-looking 
creature, who seems to have neither home nor kindred ; and 
who, as a hooded crow follows huntsmen from hill to hill, 
watching for any prey they may overlook or cast aside, 
follows the dark procession moving forward to the seat 
of war. His hair hangs over his shoulders, his beard 
is long and matted, his feet and arms are bare, and 
the remainder of his body is wretchedly covered. Night 
after night he sleeps out in the open air, or in the shelter of 
barns and farm outbuildings, whence he is often driven by 
savage dogs and more savage men. He speaks French at 
times, but for the most part he mutters to himself in a sort 
of patois which few inhabitants of these districts can under- 
stand ; and ever for those whom he accosts he has but one 
question : " Where is the Emperor ? Will he pass this way ?" 

All who see him treat him as a maniac, and mad indeed 
he is, or seems. Dazed by the vast swarms that surround 
him and ever pass him by ; swept this way and that by their 
violence as they flow like great rivers through the heart of 
the land ; ever perceiving with wild, anxious eyes the living 
torrents of faces that rush by him on their headlong course, 
he wanders stupefied from day to day. That he has some 
distinct object is clear from the firm-set face and fixed de- 
termined eyes ; but wafted backward and forward by the 
stream of life, he appears helpless and irresponsible. How 
he lives it is difficult to tell. He never begs, but many out 
of pity give him bread, and sometimes the officers throw him 
small coins as they ride by, radiant and full of hope. He 
looks famished, but it is spiritual famine, not physical, that is 
wearing him away. 



444 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

More than once he is seized for theft, and then driven 
away with blows. On one occasion he is taken as a spy, his 
hands are tied behind him, and he is driven into the presence 
of a grizzly commander, who stands smoking by a bivouac 
fire. Hastily condemned to be shot, he gives so strange a 
laugh that the closer attention of his captors is attracted to 
his condition, and finally, with scornful pity, he is set at 
liberty to roam where he will. 

As the armies advance, he advances, but lagging ever in 
the rear. Still his face looks backward, and he whispers — 
" The Emperor — when will he come?" 

How golden waves the corn in these peaceful Belgian 
fields ! How sweet smells the hay down there in the fiat 
meads through which the silvern river runs, lined on each 
side by bright green pollard trees ! How deep and cool lie 
the woods on the hill-sides, overhung with lilac and the 
wild rose, and carpeted with hyacinths and violets, blue as 
Heaven ! How quietly the wind-mills turn, with their long 
arms against the blue sky ! 

But what is that gleaming in the distance there, under the 
village spire ! It seems like a pool shining in the sun, but 
it is the clustered helmets of Prussian cuirassiers. And 
what is that dark mass moving like a shadow between the 
fields of wheat ? It is a body of Prussian infantry, ad- 
vancing slowly along the dusty way. And hark now ! — from 
the distance comes a murmur like the sound of an advancing 
sea, and from the direction whence it comes, light cavalry 
trot up constantly, and solitary messengers gallop at full 
speed. The allied forces have already quietly occupied 
Belgium, and the French host at last is coming up. 

It approaches and spreads out upon the fertile earth with 
some portion of its old strength. Sharp sounds of firing, 
and white wreaths of smoke rising here and there in the 
hollows, show that skirmishing has begun, The contending 
armies survey each other, like wild beasts j >reparing to spring 
and grapple. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END. 445 

All round them hover the human birds of prey, watchful 
and expectant, but the villages are deserted, the wind-mills 
cease to turn, and the happy sounds of pastoral industry are 
heard no more. The crops grow unwatched, and the cattle 
wander untended ; only the chapel bell is sometimes heard, 
sounding the Angelas over deserted valleys. 

Hush ! far away in the direction of Ouatre Bras sounds 
the heavy boom of cannon — thunder follows thunder deep 
as the roar of the sea. Part of the armies have met, and a 
terrible struggle is beginning ; cuirassiers gallop hither and 
thither along the roads. Groups of peasants gather here 
and there, preparing for flight and listening to the terrific 
sounds. 

At the top of a woody hill stands the same woeful figure 
that we have seen before in the track of the Grand Army. 
Wild and haggard he seems still, like some poor wretch 
whom the fatal fires have burned out of house and home. 
He stands listening, and gazing at the road which winds 
through the valley beneath him. The rain is falling heavily, 
but he does not heed. 

Suddenly, through the vaporous mist, appears the gleam 
of helms and lances rapidly advancing ; then the man dis- 
cerns a solitary Figure on horseback coming at full gallop, 
followed by a group of mounted officers ; behind these rolls 
a travelling carriage drawn by four horses. 

Alter pausing for a moment at the foot of the hill, the 
Figure gallops upward, followed by the others. 

Quietly and silently the man creeps back into the shadow 
of the wood 




CHAPTER LVI. 

UNCLE EWEN GETS HIS FURLOUGH. 

'NCLE ! uncle ! look up, listen — there is 
brave news — there has been a battle and the 
Emperor is victorious — look up ! It is I — 
Marcelle ! " 
The corporal lay in his arm-chair as if asleep, 
but his eyes were wide open and he was breathing heavily. 
Coming hastily in one afternoon with the journal in her hand, 
Marcelle found him so, and, thinking at first that he slept, 
shook him gently. Then she screamed, perceiving that he was 
senseless and ill. The widow, hastily descending from up- 
stairs where she had been busy, came trembling to her assist- 
ance. They chafed his palms, threw cold water on his face, 
moistened his lips with brandy, but it was of no avail. 

" He will die ! " cried Marcelle, wringing her hands. " It 
is one of the old attacks, but worse than ever. Mother, 
hasten down and bring Plouet — he must be bled at once — 
Master Arfoll said that was the only way.'' 
The widow hesitated : then she cried — 
" Had I not better run for the Priest ? " 
Poor soul, her first fear was that her brother-in-law might 
be hurried into the presence of his Maker before he could be 
properly blest and " anointed." But Marcelle, more worldly 
and practical, insisted that Plouet should be first sent for ; 



UNCLE EWEN GETS HIS FURLOUGH. 447 

it would be time enough to prepare for the next world when 
all hopes of preserving him for this one were fled. 

In a very short time the little barber appeared, armed with 
all the implements of office, and performed with his usual 
skill the solemn mystery of bleeding. The operation over, 
he shook his head. " The blood flows feebly," he said; 
"lie is very weak, and it is doubtful if he will recover." 

Not until he was undressed and placed in bed, did the 
Corporal open his eyes and look around him. He nodded 
to Plouet, and tried to force a smile, but it was sad work. 
When Marcelle knelt weeping by his bedside, he put his 
hand gently on her head, while the tears rose in his eyes an d 
made them dim. 

" Cheer up, neighbour ! " said Plouet. " How are we now ? 
Better, eh ? — well, I will tell you something that will do you 
good. Our advanced guard has met the Prussians at 
Charleroi, and has thrashed them within an inch of then- 
lives. " 

Uncle Ewen's eye kindled, and his lips uttered an 
inarticulate sound. 

" It is true, Uncle Ewen ! " sobbed Marcelle, looking 
fondly at him. 

"That is good news," he murmured presently, in a faint 
voice ; then he sank back upon his pillow and closed his 
eyes, with a heavy sigh. 

The excitement of the last few weeks had been too much for 
him. Day after day he had overstrained his strength, stump- 
ing up and down the village, and assuming to a certain ex- 
tent his old sway. Do what he might, he could not remain 
calm. His pulse kept throbbing like a roll of drums, and 
his ears were pricked up as if to listen for trumpet sounds in 
the distance. All the world was against the " Little Cor- 
poral," and the " Little Corporal," God willing, was about to 
beat all the world ! His own pride and expectation were at 
stake in the matter, for with the fortunes of the Emperor his 
own fortunes rose and fell. When his master was a despised 
prisoner, he too was despised — his occupation gone, his life 



448 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

a burthen to him, since he coveted respect in his sphere and 
could not endure contradiction. It had almost broken his 
heart. But when the Emperor re-emerged, like the sun from 
a cloud, Uncle Ewen partook his glory, and recovered caste 
and position ; men were afraid then to give him the lie, and 
to deny those things which he deemed holy. Proud and 
happy, he resumed his sceptre, though with a feebler hand, 
and waved down all opposition both at home and at the cab- 
aret. Joy, however, is " dangerous " in more senses than one, 
and the excess of his exultation had only heightened that 
constitutional malady to which he was a martyr. 

In the agony of this new sorrow, Marcelle almost forgot the 
anxiety which had been weighing on her heart for many 
days. Nothing had been heard of Rohan since his depart- 
ure, and no man could tell whether he was living or dead ; 
so her mind was tortured on his account, and her nights 
were broken, and her days were full of pain. All she could 
do was to pray that the good God would guard her lover's 
person and bring him back to his right mind. 

From this last attack Uncle Ewen did not emerge as 
freely as on former occasions. He kept his bed for days 
and seemed hovering on the brink of death. He would 
not hear, however, of sending for Father Rolland, whose 
Royalist proclivities had aroused his strongest indignation. 
However much he had liked the little cure' personally, he 
felt that he was unfaithful to a great cause, and that in his 
heart he hated the Emperor. 

Even while in bed he persisted in having the journals read 
to him; fortunately for him, they contained only "good 
news." When, about a week after his first attack, he was 
able to be dressed and to sit by the fireside, he still sent 
diligently to inquire after the latest bulletins from the seat 
of war. 

To him, as he sat thus, entered one day Master Arfoll. 
At first, Marcelle, who sat by, trembled to see him, but Uncle 
Ewen seemed so pleased at his appearance that her fears 
were speedily dispelled. She watched him anxiously, how 



-* UNCLE EWEN GETS HIS FURLOUGH. 449 

ever, ready to warn him should he touch on forbidden topics. 
But Master Arfoll was not the man to cause any fellow- 
creature unnecessary pain, and he knew well how to humour 
the fancies of the Corporal. When he went away that day 
Uncle Ewen said quietly, as if speaking to himself — 

"I was unjust : he is a sensible fellow.'' 

Next day Master Arfoll came again, and sat for a long 
time chatting. Presently the conversation turned on 
politics, and Uncle Ewen, feeble as he was, began to mount 
his hobby. So far from contradicting him, Master Arfoll 
assented to all his propositions. Only a great man, he 
admitted, could win so much love and kindle so much 
enthusiasm. He himself had seen the Emperor, and no 
longer wondered at the affection men felt for him. Ah, yes, 
he was a great man ! 

Marcelle scarcely knew how it came to pass, but that day 
Master Arfoll was reading aloud to Uncle Ewen out of the 
Bible which he used for teaching purposes ; and reading out 
of the New Testament, not the Old. Uncle Ewen would 
doubtless have relished to hear the recital of some of those 
martial episodes which fill the Old Books, but, nevertheless, 
the quiet peaceful parables of Jesus pleased him well. 

"After all," said Master Arfoll as he closed the Book, 
" War is a terrible thing, and Peace is best." 

" That is quite true," replied the Corporal ; " but War, 
look you, is a necessity." 

"Not if men would love one another." 

Uncle Ewen smiled grimly, the very ghost of his old smile. 

" Soul of a crow ! how can one love one's enemies ? . . . 
Those Prussians ! those English ! " 

And he ground his teeth angrily, as if he would have liked 
to worry and tear them. Master Arfoll sighed and quietly 
dropt the subject. 

When he had said au revoir and passed across the 
threshold, he heard Marcelle's voice close behind him. 

" Master Arfoll," said the girl in a quick low voice, " do 
vou think he will die ? " 



45° THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

" I cannot tell. . . . He is very ill ! " 

" But will he recover ? " 

The schoolmaster paused in thought before he replied. 

" He is not a young man, and such shocks are cruel. I do 
not think he will live long." He added gently, " There is no 
word of your cousin ? " 

She answered in the negative, and sadly returned into the 
house. 

That very night there was considerable excitement in the 
village ; groups of Bonapartist enthusiasts paced up and 
down the streets, singing and shouting. News had come of 
the battle of Ligny, and the triumph of the French arms now 
seemed certain. 

" It is true, uncle," said Gildas, entering tipsily into the 
kitchen. " The little one has thrashed those brutes ol 
Prussians at last, and he will next devour those accursed 
English." 

"Where is the journal?" asked Uncle Ewen, trembling 
from head to foot and reaching out his hands. 

Gildas handed it over, and the Corporal, putting on his horn 
spectacles, began to read it through. But the letters swam 
before his eyes, and he was compelled to entrust the task to 
Marcelle, who in a clear voice read the news aloud. When 
she had done, his eyes were dim with joy and pride. 

That night he could not sleep, and before dawn he began 
to wander. 

It was clear that some great change for the worse had 
taken place. He tossed upon his pillow, talked to himself, 
mentioned the names of old comrades, and spoke frequently 
of the Emperor. Suddenly he sprang up, and began scramb- 
ling out of bed. 

" It is the riveille ! " he cried, gazing vacantly around him. 

The voice of Marcelle, who was up and watching, seemed 

to recall him partially to himself, and he sank back quietly 

upon his pillow. Ever and anon after that he would start 

up nervously, as if at a sudden call. 

Early in the morning Master Arfoll came and sat by his 



UNCLE EWEN GETS HIS FURLOUGH. 451 

side, but he did not recognise him. The schoolmaster, who 
had no little skill in such cases, pronounced his condition to 
be critical, and, upon hearing this, Mother Derval persisted 
in sending for the priest. When Father Rolland arrived he 
found Uncle Ewen quite incapable of profiting by any holy 
offices. 

" I fear he is dying," said Master Arfoll. 

" And without the last sacrament," moaned the widow. 

" He shall have it," said Father Rolland, " if he will only 
understand. Look up, my Corporal. It is I, Father 
Rolland ! " 

But Uncle Ewen's soul was far away — out on a great battle- 
field, in sight of smoking villages and fiery towns, watching 
the great columns of armies moving to and fro, while a 
familiar figure in cocked hat and grey overcoat sat silent as 
stone on horseback, watching from an eminence ! Over and 
over again he repeated in his mind that wonderful episode 
of Cismone. He talked of Jacques Monier, and, stretching 
out his open hands over the coverlet, fancied he was warm- 
ing them over the bivouac fire. Sometimes his face flashed, 
as he fancied himself in the grand melee of battle, and he 
cried out in a loud voice, " No quarter ! " The summer sun 
shone brightly in upon him, as he lay thus full of his ruling 
passion. 

Marcelle, quite heart-broken, sobbed at his bedside, while 
the widow spent all her minutes in fervent prayer. Gildas 
stood on the hearth quite subdued, and ready to blubber like 
a great boy. On one side of the bed sat Master Arfoll ; on 
the other, the little Priest. 

" He has been a brave man," said Father Rolland, " but 
an enthusiast, look you, and this affair of Ligny has got into 
his head. He has been a good servant to the Emperor and 
to France ! " 

It seemed as if the very name of the Emperor had a spell 
to draw the Corporal from his swoon, for all at once he 
opened his eyes, and looked straight at the Priest. He did 
not seem quite to recognise him, and turning his face towards 



452 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. - 

Master Arfoll, he smiled — so faintly, so sadly, that it tore 
Marcelle's heart to see him. 

" Uncle Ewen ! Uncle Ewen ! " she sobbed, holding his 
hand. 

" Is it thou, little one ? " he murmured faintly. " What 
was it that thou wast reading about a great Battle ? " 

She could not answer for sobs, and Father Rolland inter- 
posed, speaking rapidly — 

"It is no time to think of battles now, my Corporal, for 
you are very ill and will soon be in the presence of your God. 
I have come to give you the last sacrament to prepare your 
soul for the change that is about to come upon it. There is 
no time to lose. Make your peace with Heaven ! " 

Quietly all withdrew from the kitchen, leaving the little 
acre alone with his sick charge. There was a long interval, 
during which the hearts of the two women were sick with 
anxiety ; then Father Rolland called them all back into the 
chamber. Uncle Ewen was lying quietly on his pillow with 
his eyes half closed, and on the bed beside him lay the crucifix 
and the priest's breviary. 

" It is finished," said the little cure ; "he is not quite cleaj 
in his head, and he did not recognise me, but God is good, 
and it will suffice. His mind is now calm, and he is prepared 
to approach, in a humble and peaceful spirit, the presence 
of his Maker ! " 

"Amen," cried the widow, with a great load off her mind. 

At that moment, while they were approaching the bedside, 
the Corporal opened his eyes and gazed around him. His 
look was no longer vacant, but quite collected. Suddenly 
his eyes fell upon the face of Father Rolland ; now, for the 
first time, he recognised him, and a faint flush came into his 
dying face — 

" A bus le Bourbo?i ! " he cried, " Vive l'Empereur ! '' 

And with that war-cry upon his lips he drifted out to join 
the great bivouac of the armies of the dead. 



CHAPTER LVII. 



BONAPARTE. 




OME back now to the golden valleys where the 
bloody struggle of armies is beginning ; to the 
verge of the dark wood into which crept that 
pitiable outcast man. As the man retreats 
into hiding, the figure on horseback reaches 
the hill summit, dismounts, and stands looking in the direc- 
tion of Ligny. The rain pours down upon him, but he too 
is heedless of the rain. Spurred and booted, wrapt in an old 
grey overcoat, and wearing a cocked hat from which the rain 
drips heavily, he stands wrapt in tho ight, posed, with his 
hands clasped behind his back, his head sunk deep between 
his shoulders. His staff follow, and stand in groups 
behind him and close to him. 

The heavy sound of cannon continues, rolling in the far 
distance. Presently it ceases, and the Figure is still there, 
looking in the direction whence it comes. He paces up and 
down impatiently, but his eyes are fixed now on the rainy 
road. Suddenly on the road appears the figure of a mounted 
officer, galloping bareheaded as if for dear life. He sees the 
group on the height above him and gallops up. In a few 
minutes he is in the presence of the Emperor. 

Bonaparte sees good tidings in the officer's face, but he 
opens and reads the despatch which he brings ; then he 
smiles, and speaks rapidly to those surrounding him ; in 

2 G 

i 



♦54 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

another moment he is encircled by a flash of swords, 
and there is a cry of Vive V Empereur ! The Prussians 
are in retreat from Ligny ; the first blow of the war is 
victory ! 

Without attempting to mount again, the Emperor walks 
quietly down the hill. . . . 

. . When all again is still, the man creeps out of the 
wood ; he is trembling now and shivering, and his eyes are 
more wild and hungry than ever. He hastens along like an 
animal that keeps close to the ground. He sees the bright 
group moving along the foot of the hill, but he creeps along the 
summit. The rain pours down in torrents, and the prospect 
is darkening towards fall of night. 

Still following the line of the wooded hill-tops, the man 
runs, now fleet as a deer, through the shadows of.the deepen- 
ing darkness. He meets no human soul. At last he pauses, 
close to a large building erected on the hill-side and looking 
down on long reaches of fertile pasture and yellow corn. It 
is one of those antique farms so common in Belgium— a 
quaintly gabled dwelling surrounded by barns, byres, and 
fruit gardens. But no light burns in any of the windows, 
and it seems temporarily deserted, save for a great starved 
dog that prowls around it, and flies moaning at the man's 
approach. 

The man pauses at the open door and looks down the hill. 
Suddenly he is startled by the sound of horses' feet rapidly 
approaching ; there is a flash, a gleam in the darkness, and 
a body of cavalry gallop up. Before they reach the door, he 
has plunged across the threshold. 

Within all is dark, but he gropes his way across the great 
kitchen and into a large inner chamber dimly lit by two 
great window casements. In the centre stands a ladder 
leading to a small dark hay-loft, but the room is comfortably 
furnished with rude old-fashioned chairs and table, and has 
in one corner a great fire-place of quaintly carved oak. It is 
obvious that the place has been lately occupied, for on the 
table is a portion of a loaf with some coarse cheese. Great 



BONAPARTE. 455 

black rafters stretch overhead, and above them is the open- 
ing of the loft. 

There is a tramp of feet and a sound of voices ; the 
soldiers are entering the house, and approaching the room. 
Swift as thought the man runs up the ladder, and disappears 
in the darkness of the loft above. 

An officer enters, followed by attendants bearing a lamp. 
He looks round the empty room, takes up the fragment "of 
bread, and laughs ; then he gives some orders rapidly, and 
in a few moments they bring in an armful of wood and kindle 
a fire on the hearth. As they do so, their soaking clothes 
steam. Suddenly there comes from without the sound of 
more horses galloping, of voices rapidly giving the word of 
command. The farm is surrounded on every side by troops, 
and the rooms within begin to fill. The fire burns up on the 
hearth of the large inner chamber, and the air becomes full 
of a comfortable glow. Meantime the rain falls in torrents, 
with occasional gleams of summer lightning. 

Entering bareheaded, attendants now place on the table a 
small silvern lamp, and draw close the great moth-eaten 
curtains which cover the two antique casements. They 
speak low, as if in awe of some superior presence. All 
at once, through the open door, comes a familiar Figure, 
who wears his cocked hat on his head, and has his grey 
overcoat still wrapt around him. It is the Emperor of 
France. 

He casts off the dripping overcoat and stands in simple 
general's uniform, warming his hands at the fire. They bring 
in plain bread and wine, which they set before him on the 
table. He breaks a little of the bread and drinks some of 
the wine ; then he speaks rapidly in a clear low voice, and, 
glancing round the chamber, motions his attendants to with- 
draw. They do so deferentially, closing the door softly be- 
hind them. He is left entirely alone. 

Alone in the great chamber, with the black rafters stretch- 
ing over his head dimly illumed by the red glare of the fire 
and the faint gleam of the lamp. All is so silent that he 



456 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

can hear the pattering of the rain-drops on the great case- 
ments, and on the roof above. Although the place is sur- 
rounded by troops their movements are very hushed and still, 
and, save for a low murmur of voices from the outer rooms, 
there is no human sound. But overhead, buried in the 
blackness, a wild face watches and looks down. 

Slowly, with chin drooping forward on his breast, and 
hands clasped upon his back, he paces up and down. The 
sentinel pacing to and fro beyond the window is not more 
methodical in his march than he. The rain pours without, 
and the wind moans, but he hears nothing ; he is too atten- 
tively listening to the sound of his own thoughts. What 
sees he ? — what hears he ? Before his soul's vision great 
armies pass in black procession, moving like storm-clouds 
on to some bourne of the inexorable will ; burning cities rise 
in the distance, like the ever-burning towers of Hell ; and 
the roar of far-off cannon mingles with the sound of the 
breakers of Eternity thundering on a starry shore. For this 
night, look you, of all nights, the voice of God is with the 
man, bringing dark prescience of some approaching doom. 
Mark how the firelight plays upon his cheeks, which are 
livid as those of a corpse ! See how the eagle eye sheathes 
itself softly, as if to close upon the sorrow pent within ! It 
is night, and he is alone — alone with the shadows of Sleep 
and Death. Though he knows his creatures are waking in 
the chambers beyond, and that his armies are stretching 
all around him on the rainy plain, he is nevertheless 
supremely solitary. The darkness seems a cage, from which 
his fretful mind would willingly escape ; he paces up and 
down, eager for the darkness to uplift and disclose the stormy 
dawn. 

All his plans are matured, all his orders are given ; he is 
but resting for a few brief hours before he takes the victory 
for which his soul so long has waited. Victory ? — ah, yes. 
that is certain ! — his lurid star will not fail at last to dart 
blinding beams into the eyes of his enemies ! — like a destroy- 
ing angeJ he will arise, more mighty and terrible than he 



BONAPARTE. 457 

ev« yet ?ias been ! — they think they have him in a net, but 
they shall see ! 

He walks to the window, and peers out into the night. 
Although it is summer, all is dark and cold and chill. As he 
stands for a moment gazing forth, he hears low sounds from 
the darkness around him ; sounds as of things stirring in 
sleep. The measured foot-falls of the sentries, the tramp of 
horses' feet, the cry of voices giving and receiving the pass- 
word of the night, all come upon his ear like murmurs in a 
dream. He draws the curtain, and comes forward again 
into the firelight, which wraps him from head to foot like a 
robe of blood. The great black rafters of the roof 
stretch overhead, and as something stirs among them, his 
dead-white face looks up. ... A rat crawling from its hole 
and running along the beam — that is all. 

Again he begins his monotonous march up and down. 

There is a knock at the door. " Enter," he says, in a low 
clear voice ; and an aide-de-camp enters, bareheaded, with 
a despatch. He tears it open, runs his eye over it, and casts 
it aside without a word. As the aide-de-camp is returning 
he calls him back. Unless important despatches arrive let 
no one disturb him for the next two hours ; for he will sleep. 

The door is gently closed, and he is again alone in the 
chamber. He stands upon the hearth, and for a long time 
seems plunged in deep reflection — his lips firmly set. his 
brow knitted. Presently he approaches the table, again 
takes up the despatch, looks it through, then once more 
places it aside. Unloosening his neckerchief from his throat 
he approaches the old arm-chair of oak, which is set before 
the fire. And now — merciful God ! what is this ? He has 
sunk upon his knees. 

To pray ? He ? 

Yes ; here, in the loneliness of the night, quite unconscious 
that he is watched by any human eyes, he secretly kneels, 
covers his eyes, and prays. Not for long ; after a minute he 
rises, and his face is wonderfully changed — softened and 
sweetened by the religious light that has shone upon it for 



458 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

a little space. No little child rising from saying " Our 
Father" by an innocent bedside, could look more calm ; 
yet doubtless he prayed for " victory," that his enemies 
might be blotted from the face of the earth, that God might 
once more cement his throne with blood and forge his sceptre 
of fire. " The pity of it, Iago ; oh ! the pity of it ! '' Wise 
was he who said that " the wicked are only poor blind chil- 
dren, who know not what they do." 

At last, throwing himself into the arm-chair, he lies back, 
and quietly closes his eyes. 

To sleep? Can he, on whose head rests the fate of 
empires, sleep this night ? As easily and as soundly as a 
little child ! The constant habit of seeking slumber under 
all sorts of conditions — out m the dark rain, on the bare 
ground, in the saddle, in the travelling-carriage— has made 
sleep his slave. Scarcely has he closed his eyes when the 
blessed dew falls upon them. And yet, O God, at this very 
hour, how many good men are praying for rest that will not 
come ! 

As he sits there with his chin drooping upon his breast, 
his jaw falling heavily, and his eyes half open yet glazed and 
sightless, one might fancy him a corpse — so livid is his 
cheek, so wan and wild his look. All the dark passions of 
the man, his buried cares and sorrows, which the waking 
will crushed down, now flow up to the surface and tremble 
there in ghastly lights and shades. He seems to have cast 
off his strength, like a raiment only worn by day. Great 
God, how old he looks ! how pitiably old and human ! One 
sees now, or one might see, that his hair is tinged with grey ; 
it falls in thin straggling lines upon his forehead, which is 
marked deep with weary lines. This is he who to half a 
weeping world has seemed like God ; who has let loose the 
angels of his wrath, swift as the four winds, to devastate the 
earth ; who has stood as a shadow between man's soul and 
the sun which God set up in heaven in the beginning, and 
who has swept as lightning to scorch up the realms of em- 
perors and kings. God "giveth His beloved sleep !" And 



BONAPARTE. 45c) 

to those He loves not ? — Sleep too ! This is Napoleon— a 
weary man, grey-haired and very pale ; he slumbers sound, 
and scarcely seems to dream. All over the earth lie poor 
guilty wretches, wailing miserably, conscience-stricken be- 
cause they have taken life — in passion, in cruelty, in wrath ; 
the Eye is looking at them as it looked at Cain, and they 
cannot sleep. This man has waded in blood up to his arm- 
pits ; yea, the blood he has shed is as a river rushing up to 
stain the footstool of the Throne of God. Yet he slumbers 
like a child ! 

The fire burns low, but it still fills the room with a dim 
light, which mingles with the rays of the lamp upon the 
table. Up among the black rafters all is dark ; but what is 
that stirring there and gazing down ? The black loft looms 
above, and the ladder rests against the topmost beams. 
Something moves up there, a shadow among the shadows. 
Swift as lightning, and as silent, something descends ; — it is 
the figure of a man. 




CHAPTER LVIII. 

" SIC SEMPER TYRANNUS." 

HE Emperor moans in his sleep, which is easily 
disturbed, but he does not quite waken. The 
figure crouches for a moment in the centre of 
the floor ; then crawling forward, and turning 
towards the sleeper, it approaches him without 
a sound, for its feet are naked. It rises erect, revealing a 
face so wild and strange as to seem scarcely human, but 
rather to resemble the lineaments of an apparition. The 
hair, thickly sown with white, streams down over half-naked 
shoulders ; the cheeks are sunken as with famine or disease ; 
the lips lie apart, like the mouth of some panting wild animal. 
The form seems gigantic, looming in the dim light of the 
lamp — and it is wrapt from head to foot in hideous rags. 

As the creature crawls towards the sleeping Emperor, 
something gleams in his hands ; it is a long bayonet-like 
knife, such as hunters use in the Forest of Ardennes. His 
eyes burn with strange light, fixing themselves upon the 
sleeper. If this is an assassin, then surely that sleeper's 
time is come ! 

And now, knife in hand, he stands close to the Emperor, 
looking upon his face, and reading it line by line ; as he does 
so, his own gleams spectre-like and wild and mad. His 
gaze is full of spiritual famine ; he seems as he looks to 
satisfy some passionate hunger. His eves come closer and 



* V/C SEMPER TYRANNUS* 461 

closer, charmed towards the object on which they gaze, until 
his breath could almost be felt upon the cold white cheek. 
Simultaneously the knife is raised, as if to strike home to the 
sleeper's heart. 

At this moment the sleeper stirs, but still does not waken, 
for he is thoroughly exhausted with many hours of vigil, and 
his sleep is unusually heavy. If he but knew how near his 
sleep is to death ! He has climbed to the summit of earthly 
glory ; he has chained to the footstool of his throne all the 
kings of the earth ; and is this to be the end ? To be 
slaughtered miserably at midnight by an assassin's steel. 

There is a movement as of feet in the outer chamber ; then 
the voice of the sentry is heard crying " Qui vive ? " and all 
is still again. The wild figure pauses, listening, still with 
large eyes fixed upon the sleeper's face. . . . 

Still stars of eternity, gleaming overhead in the azure arch 
of heaven, look down this night through the mundane mist 
and rain, and behold, face to face, these two creatures whom 
God made. Spirit of Life, that movest upon the air and upon 
the deep, enwrap them with the mystery of Thy breath ; for 
out of Thee each came, and unto Thee each shall return ! 
Which is Imperial now ? The gigantic creature towering 
there with wild face in all the power of maniac strength, or 
the feeble form that lies open to the fatal blow that is to 
come? Behold these two children of primaeval Adam, each 
with the flesh, blood, heart, and soul of a man ; each mir- 
aculously made, breathing the same air, feeding on the same 
earthly food ; and say, which is Abel ? which is Cain ? The 
look of Cain is on the face of him who stands erect and grips 
the knife — the look of Cain when he overthrew the altar and 
prepared to strike down his lamb-like brother in God's sight. 
. . . Yet so surely as those stars shine in heaven, it is the 
wretched Abel who hath arisen, snatching, mad with despair, 
the fratricidal knife ! 

Feature by feature, line by line, he reads the Emperor's 
face. His gaze is fixed and awful, his face still preserves its 
ashen Dallor. His maniacal abstraction is no less startling 



462 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

than his frightful physical strength. He hears a sentry 
approach the window and pause for a moment, and the knife 
is lifted mechanically as if to strike ; but the sentry passes 
by, and the knife is dropped. Then he again catches a 
movement from the antechamber. Perhaps they have heard 
sounds, and are approaching. No ; all again is still. 

How soundly the Emperor sleeps ! The lamplight illumes 
his face and marks its weary lines, while the firelight casts a 
red glow round his reclining form. There is no Imperial 
grandeur here — only a weary wight, tired, like any peasant 
dozing by the hearth ; only a weak, sallow, sickly creature, 
whom a strong man could crush down with a blow of the 
hand. One hand lies on the arm of the chair — it is white 
and small like a woman's or a child's ; yet is it not the hand 
that has struck down Christ and the Saints, and cast blood 
upon the shrines of God ? Is it not the hand of Cain, who 
slew his brother? 

And now, assassin, since such thou art, strike home ! 
[t is thy turn now. Thou hast waited and watched on 
wearily for this — thou hast nrayed madly to God and to Our 
Lady of Hate that this moment might come — and lo ! the 
Lord has put thine eneiry, the enemy of thee and of thy 
kind, into thy hand. Kill, kill, kill ! This is Napoleon, 
whose spirit has gone forth, like Cain's, to blight and make 
bloody the happy homes of earth, who has wandered from 
east to west knee-deep in blood, who has set on every land 
his seal of flame, who has cast on every field, where once the 
white wheat grew, the bones of Famine and the ashes of 
Fire. Remember D'Enghien, Pichegru, Palm ; and kill ! 
Remember Jena, Eylau ; and kill ! Dost thou hesitate ? 
Then, remember Moscow ! Remember the Beresina, choked 
up with its forty thousand dead ! Remember the thousands 
upon thousands sleeping in the great snows ! — and kill, kill, 
kill ! 

Dost thou doubt that this is he, that thou hesitatest so 
long ? Thy face is tortured, and thy hand trembles, and thy 
soul is faint. Thou earnest hither to behold a Shadow, an 



"SIC SEMPER TYRAN-N US.*' 4&3 

Image, a thing like that Form of black marble set up as a 
symbol in the dark earth. Far away the Emperor seemed 
colossal, unreal, inhuman : a portent with the likeness of a 
fiend. To that thou didst creep, thinking to grapple with 
the Execrable. And now thou art disarmed, because thou 
seest only a poor pale weary Man / 

Think of thy weary nights and famished days ; and kill ! 
Think of the darkness that has come upon thy life, of the 
sorrow that has separated thee from all thou lovest best — think 
too of the millions who have cried even as sheep driven to 
the slaughter ; and kill ! He had no pity ; do thou have 
none. Remember, it is this one life against the peace and 
happiness of Earth. Obliterate this creature, and Man per- 
haps is saved. If he awakens again, war will awaken ! — 
Fire, Famine, and Slaughter, will awaken tool Kill, 
kill ! . . . 

. . . The sleeper stirs once more, his glazed eyes half open, 
and his head rolls to one side. His face preserves a marble 
pallor, but is lit by a strange sad smile. He murmurs to 
himself, and his small hand opens and shuts— like the child's 
little hand that clutches at the butterfly in sleep, when — 

" One little wandering arm is thrown 

At random on the counterpane, 

And oft the fingers close in haste 

As if their childish owner chased 

The butterfly again." 

A crown or a butterfly ! — is not all one ? And in God's eyes, 
perchance, he who sleeps here is only a poor foolish child ! 

Be that as it may, God has drawn round the sleeper's 
form a circle which thou canst not pass. Thine indeed is 
not the stuff of which savage assassins are made, and though 
there is madness in thy brain, there is still love in thine 
heart. Kill thou canst not now, though thou earnest to kill. 
Lost as thou art, thou feelest no hate even for thine enemy, 
now ; thou knowest indeed how poor and frail a creature 
thou hast been fearing and hating so long. God made him 
and God sent him ; bloody as he is, he too is God's child. 



464 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

Perhaps if he had not prayed before he slept it might have 
been easier ; but he did pray, and his face became beautiful 
for the moment, and fearlessly as a child he sank to rest. 
Wilt thou kill what God has sanctified with His sleep ? 
Because this creature has broken the sacraments of Nature, 
wilt thou become as he ? No ; thou hast seen him and thou 
knowest him — that is enough — thou wilt leave him in the 
hands of God. . . . 

Amen ! Safely and justly mayest thou so leave him, for 
the vengeance of God is sure as the mercy of God is deep. 
One spectre of a slain man comes to thee nightly in dream ; 
how many come to him f Perhaps not one, though at his 
bidding thousands upon thousands have been miserably slain. 
Yet be thou assured, though no ghosts rise, the Spirit of Life 
will demand an account. Look again at the closed Imperial 
eyes ! See the cold light sleeping deep and pitiless on that 
face that ruled a world ! To those dead eyes, cold as a 
statue's stony orbs, thou, poor wretch, hast been offered up 
by a world grown mad like thee. As an Idol on a pedestal, 
as an Idol of stone with dull dumb stare surveying its worship- 
pers, this man has stood aloft supremely crowned. Not while 
he stood up there, could the Spirit of Life find him ; not till 
the hands of man have cast him down, shall the Spirit of 
Love chasten him and turn him back to flesh . . . When 
men go by the place where the Idol is lying low, and murmur, 
beholding it broken upon the ground, " This was Napoleon ! 
the thing we wondered at and worshipped for a time ! " and 
smiling turn away, then perhaps in the cold breast the human 
heart shall beat more freely, humbled and awe-stricken before 
its Maker. . . . 

. . . Turn, poor wretch, ere thou goest, acd look again. 
There sleeps on that Imperial face no loving living light, but 
an inward eating fire — a fire consuming and destroying and 
redeeming in its own despite the soul on which it feeds. He 
who hath had no mercy for mankind shall learn the bitter 
lesson of self-mercy, and, realising his own utter loneliness 
and pain yearn outward to the woes of all the world. And 



" SIC SEMPER TYRANNUS" 465 

in that hour this cold light thou beholdest shall spread 
through all his spirit, and become as that mad sorrow and 
despair which lights now those wretched eyes of thine. 
Leave him then to God, and go thy way. . . . 

. . . The man no longer holds the knife. On silent naked 
feet he has withdrawn back towards the great inner casement 
of the chamber. For a moment he pauses with one last 
look — trembling like one who, having plunged into a raging 
sea, is suddenly uplifted by the hair, and gazing with wild 
eyes and quivering lips on the pale Imperial face. Then he 
Iraws back the heavy curtain, and, dashing open the great 
tvindow, leaps out into the darkness. 

There is a loud cry in the distance, then the sound of 
shots, then a tramp of feet, — and silence. The man has 
disappeared as he came, like a ghost of the night. 

Meanwhile, the sleeper, startled by the sounds, has sprang 
up in his chair. As he stands trembling and looking round 
him, there lies in the gloom at his feet a huge naked knife, 
such as hunters use ; but he sees it not, and little dreams 
that such a weapon only a few minutes since was pointed at 
his own heart. His attendants enter anxiously and find the 
window open, but no clue as to what hand threw it wide. 
The hero of a hundred battles shivers, for he is superstitious, 
but he cannot help them to an explanation. 

But now — to horse ! He has rested too long, and it will 
soon be dawn. . . . Drums beat and trumpets sound, as he 
rides on through the dark night, his heavy travelling carriage, 
surrounded by lancers, lumbering behind. Leave him still to 
God. . . . Close before him, clouding the lurid star of his 
destiny, rises the blood-red shadow — Waterloo. 



EPILOGUE. 




YEAR has passed away. The yellow lamps of 
the broom are again burning on the crags ; the 
flocks of sea-birds have come from the south to 
whiten the great sea-wall ; the corn is growing 
golden inland, and the lark, poised over the 
murmuring farms, is singing loud ; while the silvern harvest 
of the deep is growing too, and the fishermen creep from 
calm to calm, gathering it up in their brown nets. The sea 
is calm as glass, and every crag is mirrored in it from base 
to brow. It is the anniversary of the great battle which de- 
cided fatally the destinies of Bonaparte. 

On the summit of the cliff immediately overlooking the 
Cathedral of St. Gildas sit two figures, gazing downward. 
Far below them, over the roofless Cathedral wall, hov r 
flocks of gulls, and the still green sea, faintly edged with foam 
that does not seem to stir, is approaching the red granite 
Gate of St. Gildas. Away beyond, further than eyes Can 
see, stretches the Ocean, faintly shaded by the soft grey mists 
of Heaven. 

One figure, very gaunt and tall, sits like a statue, withlar^e 
grey eyes turned seaward ; his hair is quite grey and flov/s 
on to his shoulders, his face is marked with strange furrows, 
left by some terrible sorrow or terror that has passed away. 
The other figure, that of a beautiful young girl, sits just below 



EPILOGUE. &? 

him, holding his hand and looking up into his face. She 
wears a dark dress and saffron coif, both signs of mourning, 
and her face is very pale. 

Day after day, in the golden summer weather, the two 
come here and sit for hours in silence and in peace. Day by 
day the girl watches for the passing away of the cloud which 
obscures the soul of her companion. He seems — why, she 
knows not — to derive a strange solace from merely sitting 
here, holding her hand, and contemplating the waters. His 
eyes seem vacant, but strange spiritual light still survives in 
their depths. 

To-day, he speaks, not turning his gaze from the Sea. 

" Marcelle ! " 

" Yes, Rohan 1 " 

" If one could sail, and sail, and sail, out there, one would 
come to the rock where he is sitting, with the waves all round 
him. Sometimes I see him yonder, looking over the black 
waters. He is by himself, and his face looks white as it did 
when I saw it, before the great battle was fought 1 " 

She gazes at him in troubled tenderness, her eyes dim with 
tears. 

" Rohan, dear 1 of whom do you speak ? " 

He smiles but does not answer. His words are a mystery 
to her. Since the day when, after long months of absence, 
he returned home a broken man, he has often spoken of won- 
drous things — of battles, of the Emperor, of strange meetings, 
but it has all seemed like witless wandering. She has been 
waiting wearily till the cloud should lift and all become clear ; 
and there seems hope, for day by day he has grown more 
peaceful and gentle, and now he can be guided like a child. 

He is silent, still gazing seaward. Behind him rises the 
great Menhir, with the village lying far beneath. The sun- 
light falls above him and around him, clothing as with a 
white veil his figure and that of the gentle girl. All is not 
lost, for with his desolation her love has grown, and she her- 
self remains to him, chastened, subdued, faithful unto 
death. . . . 



468 THE SHADOW OF THE SWORD. 

. . . But he does not rave when he speaks of one who lin- 
gers in the waste out yonder. Far away, under a solitary 
palm-tree, sits another Form, waiting, watching, and dream- 
ing, while the waters of the deep, sad and strange as the 
waters of Eternity, stretch measureless around, and break 
with weary murmurs at his feet. 

Sc sit those twain, thousands of miles apart, 
Each cheek, on hand, gazing upon the Sea ) 



THE END. 




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Popular Stories by the Best Authors. Library Editions, many Illustrated, 
crown 8vo, cloth extra, 3s. 6d. each. 



BY GRANT ALLEN 
Phlllstia. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN 

HERRING." 
Red Spider. 

BY W. BESANT & JAMES RICB. 
Ready-Money Mortiboy. 
My Little Girl. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraffc 
This Son of Vulcan. 
With Harp and Crown 
The Golden Butterfly. 
By Celia's Arbour 
The Monks of Thelema. 
'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Seamy side. 
The Ten Years' Tenant. 
The Chaplain of the Fleet. 

BY WALTER BESANT. 
All Sorts and Conditions of Men. 
The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. 
Dorothy Forster. | Uncle Jack. 
Children of Gibeon. 
The World Went Very Well Then. 

BY ROBERT BUCHANAN. 
Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
The Shadow of the Sword. 
The Martyrdom of Madeline. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Annan Water. I The New Abelard. 
Matt. I Foxglove Manor. 

The Master of the Mine. 
The Heir of Llnne. 

BY HALL CAINE. 
The Shadow of a Crime. 
A Son of Hagar. | The Deemster. 
BY MRS. H. LOVETT CAMERON. 
Deceivers Ever. | Juliet's Guardian. 

BY MORTIMER COLLINS. 
Sweet Anne Page. | Transmigration. 
From Midnight to Midnight. 



MORTIMER & FRANCES COLLINS. 
Blacksmith and Scholar. 
The Village Comedy. 
You Play me False. 

BY WILKIE COLLINS. 



The Frozen Deep. 
The Law and ths 

Lady. 
TheTwo Destinies 
Haunted Hotel. 
The Fallen Leaves 
Jezebel'sDaughter 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science 
" I Say No." 
Little Novels. 
The Evil Genlusi 



Antonlna. 

Basil. 

Hide and Seek 

The Dead Secret 

Queen of Hearts. 

My Miscellanies. 

Woman In White 
I The Moonstone. 
f Man and Wife. 

Poor Miss Finch. 

Miss or Mrs. ? 

New Magdalen. 

BY DUTTON COOK. 

Paul Foster's Daughter 

BY WILLIAM CYPLES, 

Hearts of Gold. 

BY ALPHONSE DA UDET. 

The Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 
BY JAMES DE MILLS. 

A Castle in Spain. 

BY J. LEITH DERWENT. 
Our Lady of Tears. 
Circe's Lovers. 

BY M. BETHAM-EDWARDS 
Felicia. 

BY MRS. ANNIE EDWARDES. 
Archie Lovell. 

BY PERCY FITZGERALD. 
Fatal Zero. 

BY R. E. FRANCILLON. 
Queen Cophetua. 
One by One. 
A Real Queen. 

Prefaced by Sir BARTLE FRERE, 
Pandurang Hari. 

BY EDWARD GARRETT. 
The Capel Girls. 



28 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



Piccadilly Novels, continued — 
BY CHARLES GIBBON. 
Robin Gray. 

What will the World Say? 
In Honour Bound. 
Queen of the Meadow. 
The Flower of the Forest. 
A Heart's Problem. 
The Braes of Yarrow. 
The Golden Shaft. 
Of High Degree. 
Loving a Dream. 

BY THOMAS HARDY. 
Under the Greenwood Tree. 

BY JULIAN HAWTHORNE. 
Garth. 

Ellice Quentin. 
Sebastian Strome. 
Prince Saronl'8 Wlfa 
Dust. 

Fortune's Fool. 
Beatrix Randolph. 
David Polndexter's Disappearance. 

BY SIR A. HELPS. 
Ivan de Blron. 

BY MRS, ALFRED HUNT 
Thornlcroft's Model. 
The Leaden Casket. 
Self-Condemned. 
That other Person. 

BY JEAN INGELOW. 
Fated to be Free. 

BY R. ASHE KING. 
A Drawn Game. 
"The Wearing of the Green." 

BY HENRY KINGS LEY. 
Number Seventeen. 

BY E. LYNN LINTON. 
Patricia Kemball. 
Atonement of Learn Dundas. 
The World Well Lost. 
Under which Lord ? 
The Rebel of the Family. 
" My Love !" 
lone. 
Paston Carew- 

BY HENRY W. LUCY. 
Gideon Fleyce. 

by justin McCarthy. 

The Waterdale Neighbours. 
A Fair Saxon. 
Dear Lady Disdain. 
Miss Misanthrope. 
Donna Quixote. 
The Comet of a Season. 
Maid of Athens. 
Camlola. 

BY MRS. MACDONELL, 
Quaker Cousins. 



Piccadilly Novels, continued — 
BY FLORENCE MARRY AT. 

Open ! Sesame ! | Written In Fire, 
BY D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. 

Life's Atonement. I Coals of Fire. 

Joseph's Coat. Val Strange. 

A Model Father. I Hearts. 

By the Gate of the Sea 

The Way of the World. 

A Bit of Human Nature. 

First Person Singular. 

Cynic Fortune 

BY MRS. OLIPHANT. 

Whlteladles. 

BY MARGARET A. PAUL. 
Gentle and Simple. 

BY JAMES PAYN. 



Lost Sir Massing- 

berd. 
Walter's Word. 
Less Black than 

We're Painted. 
By Proxy. 
High Spirits. 
Under One Roof. 
A Confidential 

Agent. 



From Exile. 

A Grape from a 

Thorn. 
For Cash Only. 
Some Private 

Views. 
The Canon's 

Ward. 
Talk of the Town. 
Glow-worm Tales. 



BY E. C. PRICE. 
Valentlna. | The Foreigners. 

Mrs. Lancaster's Rival. 

BY CHARLES READE. 
It Is Never Too Late to Mend. 
Hard Cash. 
Peg Wofflngton. 
Christie Johnstone. 
Griffith Gaunt. | Foul Play. 
The Double Marriage. 
Love Me Little, Love Me Long. 
The Cloister and the Hearth. 
The Course of True Love. 
The Autobiography of a Thief. 
Put Yourself in His Place. 
A Terrible Temptatlen. 
The Wandering Heir. I A Simpleton. 
A Woman-Hater. | Readtana. 

Singleheart and Doubleface. 
The Jilt. 

Good Stories of Men and other 
Animals. 

BY MRS: J. H. RIDDELL. 
Her Mother's Darling. 
Prince of Wales's Garden-Party. 
Weird Stories. 

BY F. W. ROBINSON. 
Women are Strange. 
The Hands of Justice. 

BY JOHN SAUNDERS. 
Bound to the Wheel. 
Guy Waterman. 
Two Dreamers. 
The Lion in the Path. 



CHATtO * WltJDVS, PICCADILLY. 



29 



Piccadilly Novels, continued— 
BY KATHARINE SAUNDERS. 
Margaret and Elizabeth. 
Gideon's Rock. I Heart Salvage. 
The High Mills. | Sebastian. 

BY T. W. SPEIGHT. 
The Mysteries of Heron Dyke. 

BY R. A. STERN DALE. 
The Afghan Knife. 

BY BERTHA THOMAS. 
Proud Malsle. | Cresslda. 
The Violin-Player. 

BY ANTHONY TROLLOPS. 
The Way we Live Now. 
Frau Frohmann. | Marlon Fay. 
Kept In the Dark. 
Mr. Scarborough's Family. 
The Land-Leaguers. 



Piccadilly Novels, continued— 
BY FRANCES E. TROLLOPE. 
Like Ships upon the Sea. 
Anne Furness. 
Mabel's Progress. 

BY IVAN TURGENIEFF, &c. 
Stories from Foreign Novelists. 

BY SARAH TYTLER 
What She Came Through. 
The Bride's Pass. 
Saint Mungo's City. 
Beauty and the Beast. 
Noblesse Oblige. 
Cltoyenne Jacqueline. 
The Huguenot Family. 
Lady Bell. 
Burled Diamonds. 

BY C.C. FRASER-TYTLER. 
Mistress Judith. 



CHEAP EDITIONS OF POPULAR NOVELS. 



Post 8vo, illustrated boards, 2s. each. 



BY EDMOND ABOUT. 
The Fellah. 

BY HAMILTON a'IdA. 
Carr of Carrlyon. | Confidences. 

BY MRS. ALEXANDER, 
Maid, Wife, or Widow P 
Valerie's Fate. 

BY GRANT ALLEN. 
Strange Stories. 
PhlHstia. 
Babylon. 
In all Shades. 
The Beckoning Hand. 

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Grantley Grange. 

BY W. BESANT & JAMES RICE. 
Ready-Money Mortlboy. 
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This Son of Vulcan. | My Little Girl. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 
The Golden Butterfly. 
By Cella'8 Arbour. 
The Monks of Thelema. 
•Twas In Trafalgar's Bay. 
Tho Seamy Side. 
The Ten Years' Tenant. 
The Chaplain of the Fleet. 

BY WALTER BESANT. 
All Sorts and Conditions of Men. 
The Captains' Room. 
All In a Garden Falls 
Dorothy Forster. 
Uncle Jack. 
Children of Glbeon 



BY FREDERICK BOY LB. 
Camp Notes. | Savage Life. 
Chronicles of No-man's Land. 

BY BRET HARTE. 
An Heiress of Red Dog. 
The Luck of Roaring Camp. 
Callfornian Stories. 
Gabriel Conroy. | Flip. 
Maruja. | A Phyllis of the Slerrasi 
BY ROBERT BUCHANAN. 



The Martyrdom 

of Madeline. 
Annan Water. 
The New Abelard. 
Matt. 



The Shadow of 

the Sword. 
A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Foxglove Manor. 
The Master of the Mine. 

BY MRS. BURNETT. 
Surly Tim. 

BY HALL CAINE. 
The Shadow of a Crime. 
A Son of Hagar. 

BY COMMANDER CAMERON. 
The Cruise of the "Black Prince." 
BY MRS. LOVETT CAMERON 
Deceivers Ever. | Juliet's Guardian. 

BY M ACL A REN COBBAN. 
The Cure of Souls. 

BY C. ALLSTON COLLINS. 
The Bar Sinister. 

BY WILKIE COLLINS. 



Antonlna. 

Basil. 

Hide and Seek. 

The Dead Secret. 



Queen of Hearts. 
My Miscellanies. 
Woman In White. 
The Moonstone. 



30 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued— 
Wilkie Collins, continued. 



Man and Wife. 
Poor Miss Finch. 
Miss op Mrs. P 
■New Magdalen. 
The Frozen Deep. 
Law and the Lady. 
TheTwo Destinies 



Haunted Hotel. 
The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel'sDaughtef 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science 
"I Say No." 
The Evil Genius. 



BY MORTIMER COLLINS. 
Sweet Anne Page. I From Midnlghtto 
Transmigration. | Midnight. 
A Fight with Fortune. 

MORTIMER & FRANCES COLLINS. 
Sweet and Twenty. | Frances. 
Blacksmith and Scholar. 
The Village Comedy. 
You Play me False. 

BY DUTTON COOK. 
Leo. | Paul Foster's Daughter* 

BY C. EGBERT CRADDOCK. 
The Prophet of the Great Smoky 
Mountains. 

BY WILLIAM CYPLES. 
Hearts of Gold. 

BY ALPHONSE DAUDET. 
The Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 

BY JAMES DE MILLE. 
A Castle In Spain. 

BY J. LEITH DERWENT. 
Our Lady of Tears. | Circe's Lovers. 

BY CHARLES DICKENS. 
Sketches by Boz. I Oliver Twist. 
Pickwick Papers. | Nicholas Nickleby 

BY MRS. ANNIE EDWARDES. 
A Point of Honour. | Archie Lovell. 

BY M. BETHAM-EDWARDS. 
Felicia. I Kitty. 

BY EDWARD EGGLESTON. 
Roxy. 

BY PERCY FITZGERALD. 
Bella Donna. | Never Forgotten. 
The Second Mrs.TIMotson 
Polly 

Seventy five Brooke Street. 
The Lady of Brantome. 
Fatal Zero. 

BY ALBANY DE FONBLANQUE. 
Filthy Lucre. 

BY R. E. FRANCILLON. 
Olympia. I Queen Cophetua. 

One by One. I A Real Queen. 

Prefaced by Sir H. BARTLE FRERE. 
Pandurang Harl. 

BY HAIN FRISWELL. 
One of Two. 

BY EDWARD GARRETT, 
The Capel Girls. 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued— 

BY CHARLES GIBBON. 
Robin Gray. The Flower of the 

For Lack of Gold. Forest. 
What will the Braes of Yarrow. 
World Say? The Golden Shaft. 

In Honour Bound. Of High Degree. 
In Love and War. Fancy Free. 
For the King. Mead and Stream. 

In Pastures Green Loving a Dream. 
Queen of the Mea- A Hard Knot. 

dow. Heart's Delight. 

A Heart's Problem 

BY WILLIAM GILBERT. 
Dr. Austin's Guests. 
The Wizard of the Mountain. 
James Duke. 

BY yAMES GREENWOOD. 
Dick Temple. 

BY JOHN HABBERTON. 
Brueton's Bayou. | Country Luck. 

BY ANDREW HALLIDAY 
Every-Day Papers. 

BY LADY DUFFVS HARDY. 
Paul Wynter's Sacrifice. 

BY THOMAS HARDY. 
Under the Greenwood Tree. 

BY J. BERWICK HARWOOD. 
The Tenth Earl. 

BY JULIAN HAWTHORNE. 
Garth. I Sebastian Strome 

ElliceQuentln. I Dust. 
Prince Saronl'a Wife. 
Fortune's Fool. I Beatrix Randolph. 
Miss Cadogna. | Love — or a Name. 

BY SIR ARTHUR HELPS. 
Ivan de Blron. 

BY MRS. CASHEL HOEY. 
The Lover's Creed. 

BY TOM HOOD. 
A Golden Heart. 

BY MRS. GEORGE HOOPER. 
The House of Raby. 

BY TIGHE HOPKINS. 
'Twixt Love and Duty. 

BY MRS. ALFRED HUNT. 
Thorn ioroft's Model. 
The Leaden Casket. 
Self-Condemned. 
That other Person. 

BY JEAN INGELOW. 
Fated to be Free. 

BY HARRIETT JAY. 
The Dark Colleen. 
The Queen of Connaught. 

BY MARK KERSHAW. 
Colonial Facts and Fictions. 
BY R. ASHE KING. 
A Drawn Game. 
"The Wearing of the Green." 

BY HENRY KINGSLEY. 
Oakshott Castle. 

BY E. LYNN LINTON. 
Patricia Kemball. 
The Atonement of Leam DundM. 



CHATTO & W INDUS, PICCADILLY. 



31 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued— 

E. Lynn Linton, continued — 
The World Well Lost. 
Under which Lord P 
With a Silken Thread. 
The Rebel of the Family. 
"My Love." I lone. 

BY HENRY W. LUCY. 
Gideon Fleyce. 

by justin McCarthy. 

Dear LadyOlsdal.n MissMlsanthrope 
The Waterdale Donna Quixote. 

Neighbours. The Comet of a 

My Enemy's Season. 

Daughter. Maid of Athens. 

A Fair Saxon. Camiola. 

Linley Rochford. 

BY MRS. MACDONELL. 
Quaker Cousins. 

BY KATHARINE S. MACQUOID. 
The Evil Eye. | Lost Rose. 

BY W.H. MALLOCK. 
The New Republic. 

BY FLORENCE MARRYAT. 
Open! Sesame- I Fighting the Air. 
A Harvest of Wild Written in Fire. 
Oats. I 

BY J. MASTERMANt 
Half-a-dozen Daughters. 
BY BRANDER MATTHEWS. 
A Secret of the Sea. 

BY JEAN MIDDLEMASS. 
Touch and Go. | Mr. Dorllllon. 

BY MRS. MOLESWORTH. 
Hathercourt Rectory. 

BY D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. 



Hearts. 

Way of the World. 

A Bit of Human 
Nature. 

First Person Sin- 
gular. 

Cynic Fortune. 



ALIfe'sAtonement 
A Model Father. 
Joseph's Coat. 
jCoals of Fire. 
By the Gate of the 

Sea. 
Val Strange. 

BY ALICE O'HANLON. 
The Unforeseen. 

BY MRS. OLIPHANT. 
Whiteladies. 
The Primrose Path. 
The Greatest Heiress In England. 
BY MRS. ROBERT O'REILLY. 
Phoebe's Fortunes. 

BY OUIDA. 



Held In Bondage. 

Strathmore. 

Chandos. 

Under Two Flags. 

Idalia. 

Cecil Cast I e- 

maine's Gage. 
Tricotrin. 
Puck. 

Folle Farine. 
A Dog of Flanders. 
Pascarel. 
Slgna. [Ine. 

Princess Naprax- 



TwoLlttleWooden 
Shoes. 

In a Winter City. 

Ariadne. 

Friendship. 

Moths. 

Plpistrello. 

A Village Com- 
mune. 

Bimbi. 

Wanda. 

Frescoes. 

In Maremma. 

Othmar. 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued— 
BY MARGARET AGNES PAUL. 
Gentle and Simple. 

BY JAMES PAYN. 



Like Father, Like, 

Son. 
Marine Residence. 
Married Beneath 

Him. 
Mirk Abbey. [Won. 
Not Wooed, but 
Less Black than 

We're Painted. 
By Proxy. 
Under One Roof. 
High Spirits. 
Carlyon's Year. 
A Confidential 

Agent. 
Some Private 

Views. 
From Exile. 
A Grape from a 

Thorn. 
For Cash Only 
Kit : A Memory. 
The Canon's Ward 
Talk of the Town. 
Holiday Tasks. 
PIRKIS. 



Lost Sir Massing- 
berd. 

A Perfect Trea- 
sure. 

Bentinck's Tutor. 

Murphy's Master. 

A County Family. 

At Her Mercy. 

A Woman's Ven- 
geance. 

Cecil's Tryst. 

Clyffards of Clyffe 

The Family Scape- 
grace. 

Foster Brothers. 

Found Dead. 

Best of Husbands. 

Walter's Word. 

Halves. 

Fallen Fortunes. 

What He Cost Her 

Humorous Stories 

Gwendoline's Har- 
vest. 

£200 Reward. 

BY C. L, 

Lady Lovelace. 

BY EDGAR A. POE. 

The Mystery of Marie Roget. 
BY E. C. PRICE. 

Valentlna. | The Foreigners. 

Mrs. Lancaster's Rival. 

Gerald. 

BY CHARLES RE ABE. 

It is Never Too Late to Mend. 

Hard Cash. | Peg Wofflngton. 

Christie Johnstone. 

Griffith Gaunt 

Put Yourself in His Place. 

The Double Marriage. 

Love Me Little, Love Me Long. 

Foul Play. 

The Cloister and the Hearth. 

The Course of True Love. 

Autobiography of a Thief. 

A Terrible Temptation. 

The Wandering Heir. 

A Simpleton. I A Woman-Hater. 

Readiana. | The Jilt. 

Singleheart and Doubleface. 

Good Stories of Men and other 
Animals. 

BY MRS. J. H. RIDDELL. 
Her Mother's Darling. 
Prince of Wales's Garden Party 
Weird Stories. | Fairy Water. 
The Uninhabited House. 
The Mystery In Palace Gardens. 

BY F. W. ROBINSON. 
Women are Strange, 
The Hands of Justice. 



32 



BOOKS PUBLISHED BY CHATTO <&• WINDUS. 



T 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued — 
BY JAMES RUN CI MAN. 
Skippers and Shellbacks. 
Grace Balmaign's Sweetheart. 
Schools and Scholars. 

BY W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
Round the Galley Fire. 
On the Fo'k'sle Head. 
In the Middle Watch. 
A Voyage to the Cape. 

BY BAYLE ST. JOHN. 
A Levantine Family. 
BY GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA. 
Gaslight and Daylight. 

BY JOHN SAUNDERS. 
Bound to the Wheel. 
One Against the World. 
Guy Waterman. 
The Lion in the Path. 
Two Dreamers. 
BY KATHARINE SAUNDERS. 
Joan Merryweather. 
Margaret and Elizabeth. 
The High Mills. 
Heart Salvage. | Sebastian. 

BY GEORGE R. SIMS. 
Rogues and Vagabonds. 
The Ring o' Bells. 
Mary Jane's Memoirs. 
Mary Jane Married. 

BY ARTHUR SKETCHLEY. 
A Match in the Dark. 

BY T. W. SPEIGHT. 
The Mysteries of Heron Dyke. 
The Golden Hoop. 

BY R. A. STERNDALE. 
The Afghan Knife. 

BY R. LOUIS STEVENSON. 
New Arabian Nights. I Prince Otto. 

BY BERTHA THOMAS. 
Oessida. | Proud Maisla 

The Violin-Player. 

BY W. MOY THOMAS. 
A Fight for Life. 

BY WALTER THORNBURY. 
Tales for the Marines. 
BY T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE. 
Diamond Cut Diamond. 

BY ANTHONY TROLLOPE. 
The Way We Live Now. 
The American Senator. 
Frau Frohmann. 
Marlon Fay. 
Kept in the Dark. 
Mr. Scarborough's Family. 
The Land-Leaguers. 
The Golden Lion of Granpera. 
John Caldigate. 

By F. ELEANOR TROLLOPE. 
Like Ships upon the Sea. 
Anne Furness. I Mabel's Progress. 

BY J.T. TROWBRIDGE. 
Farnelhs Folly. 

BY IVAN TURGENIEFF, &-c. 
Stories from Foreign Novelists. 



Cheap Popular Novels, continued— 
BY MARK TWAIN. 
Tom Sawyer. | A Tramp Abroad. 
A Pleasure Trip on the Continent 

of Europe. 
The Stolen White Elephant. 
Huckleberry Finn. 
Life on the Mississippi. 
The Prince.and the Pauper. 

BY C. C. FRASER-TYTLER. 
Mistress Judith. 

BY SARAH TYTLER. 
What She Came Through. 
The Bride's Pass. 
Saint Mungo's City. 
Beauty and the Beast. 
.Lady Bell- | Noblesse Oblige: 
Cltoyenne Jacquiline. 
Disappeared. 

BY J. S. WINTER. 
Cavalry Life. | Regimental Legends. 

BY LADY WOOD. 
Sablna. 

BY EDMUND YATES. 
Castaway. | The Forlorn Hope. 
Land at Last. 

ANONYMOUS. 
Paul Ferroll. 
Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 

POPULAR SHILLING BOOKS. 
Jeff Briggs's Love Story. By Bret 

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The Twins of Table Mountain. By 

Bret Harte. 
A Day's Tour. By Percy Fitzgerald. 
Mrs. Gainsborough's Diamonds. By 

Julian Hawthorne, 
A Romance of the Queen's Hounds. 

By Charles James. 
Kathleen Mavourneen. By Author 

of " That Lass o' Lowrie's." 
Lindsay's Luck. By the Author oi 

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Pretty Polly Pemberton. By the 

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Trooping with Crows. ByC. L. Pirkis 
The Professor's Wife. By Leonard 

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The Garden that Paid the Rent 

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Curly. By John Coleman. Illus- 
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Doom : An Atlantic Episode. By 

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Our Sensation Novel. Edited by 

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A Barren Title. Byl. W. Speight. 
Wife or No Wife? ByT. W.Speight. 
The Silverado Squatters. By R. 

Louis Stevenson. 



{. OGDEN AMD CO. LIMITED, PRINTERS, GREAT SAFFRON HILL, B.C. 



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Send Name and County. Sketch, 3^. 6d.; in Colours, 
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PUGH BROS., Great Turnstile, Lincoln's Inn, 

and 76, Queen Victoria Street, City. 
Illustrated List on application. 



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IN* E v E R 

SOLD IN ENGLAND BEFORE AT THE PRICE. 



BARBER & CO.'S 



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The 'LOUIS' VELVETEEN 



"Le Follet" says-.—" The 'LOUIS' VELVETEEN 

has already rejoiced in a longer reign in the world of fashion 
than that of any material within our recollection; and when 
we take into consideration that it is equally suitable for all 
occasions— an advantage no other fabric possesses — and that 
whether employed as a complete dress, portions of toilettes, 
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not surprising. 

"The 'LOUIS' VELVETEEN from its wonderful re- 
semblance to the richest Silk Velvet, is essentially a lady's 
material, the lights and shadows so thoroughly like those of 
Genoa and Lyons Velvet, the rich folds and graceful drapery 
so soft and silky to the touch, all account easily for its great and 
permanent vogue among the aristocracy both here and abroad. 

" Though very strong, it is so light in wear that even in 
elaborately-made dresses, with long trains, it has no inconvenient 
weight ; while from some peculiar and special arrangement of 
the pile, no amount of creasing will flatten or rub it ; neither 
rain nor dust alter its rich colourings or dim the silky bloom 
for which it is so celebrated — advantages that cannot be too 
highly appreciated." 

EVERY YARD of the GENUINE BEARS the NAME 

"LOUIS," 

And the Wear of every Yard Guaranteed. 

From all Drtcpers throughout the Kingdom. 




■ 'A 
Strobic Circles invented by Pi . Tebsor Silvanus P. Thompson, D.Sc, B.A. 




H 



T'LD this Diagram by the right-hanu bottom comer and J 



give ii a slight but rapid circular' twisting motion, when 
each circle iviil separate y revolve on its own axis. The inner 
cogged wheel vill be seen to revolve in an opposite direction. 



Protected against infringement and solely controlled by The Leadenhall Press, E.C 

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